Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)

After the 1908 race riot in Springfield, Illinois, several white liberals called for a meeting on racial justice, which occurred in New York. An invitation to more than 60 people included Ida B. Wells-Barnett and W. E. B. Du Bois, and from that the organization was born in February 1909. The NAACP grew into the largest and oldest civil rights organization in America, building a national network of local offices to advocate for racial justice on economic, political, moral, and legal issues. During the Great Depression, the NAACP worked through ally Eleanor Roosevelt and the Congress of Industrial Organizations to secure jobs for African Americans, leading to the desegregation of the Armed Forces. The NAACP helped organize the 1963 March on Washington, advocated against lynching for 30 years, and created the Legal Defense Fund. It is renowned as a force for economic advancement, equal health care and education, voter empowerment, and criminal justice. See also Niagara Movement.