NAACP Day is observed next on Sunday, February 12th, 2023 (10 days from today).
History of NAACP Day
The NAACP or National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was founded in February 1909 when America was facing a crisis of racism. A new generation of politicians abandoned their post-Civil War commitment to racial justice in favor of economic growth. Meanwhile, Southern Democrats were quick to avenge their former slaves by legally isolating blacks with the passage of the infamous and loathsome Jim Crow law. Lynching has become endemic; between 1860 and 1900, about 5,000 African-Americans were murdered by vigilante mobs. At the turn of the century, however, racism was no longer confined to the Deep South and had migrated North with thousands of blacks fleeing the persecution of the Ku Klux Klan. And with stiff competition for jobs in the northern industrial cities, racial tensions quickly escalated. In the summer of 1908, a major racing riot broke out in Springfield, Illinois - the hometown of Abraham Lincoln himself.
Walling's Warrior will lead directly to the creation of the NAACP. Led by socialist activist Mary White Ovington and Oswald Garrison Villard, grandson of abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, the mission of the NAACP from its inception was:
To promote equality of rights and eliminate class or racial prejudice among citizens of the United States; to promote the interest of citizens of color; to guarantee them fair voting rights; and increase opportunities for justice in the courts, education of children, employment to their full potential and full equality before the law.
Although largely funded and controlled in its early years by sympathetic whites, W.E.B. Du Bois, who led the NAACP in the development of its educational and advocacy program. Through her excellent role as the editor of The Crisis - the magazine of the NAACP - Du Bois became the main philosophical voice of the struggle for black freedom. In his writings, Du Bois exposed the scourge of racial oppression, educated black and white readers about the nature of the struggle, and attempted to instill pride in his people by showcasing the work of African-American writers, poets, and artists.
Today, the NAACP continues to be the largest and most influential civil rights organization in the United States. More than a century since its founding, it has survived in a changing landscape of long and continuous struggle – including the more radical Black Power ideology of the 1960s. Through legal action, political rallies and lobbying, the NAACP succeeded - county by county - in removing the statutes that discriminated against Jim Crow, and its workers were largely responsible. Landmark changes to the law including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968.
In addition, let us not forget the tireless efforts of the NAACP in eradicating dissociation. Just 100 years ago, in Livermore, Kentucky, tickets to witness and participate in a public wits were sold at a local theater: those in the best seats could shoot unlimitedly at the target, while those in the gallery are limited to one. The NAACP spent decades searching for federal law against this barbaric and routine practice, and their 1919 study - Thirty Years of Lynching in the United States - remains an indelible testimony to the shame of America.
How to celebrate NAACP Day
The NAACP now has more than 2,200 branches and has won numerous legal battles in favor of African Americans, especially during the civil rights era of the 1950s and 1960s. Today, the NAACP focuses on issues important issues such as inequality in employment, education, health care and the criminal justice system, protection of the right to vote and the removal of the Union flag. Visit the NAACP website to support them by donating!
ObservedNAACP Day has been observed annually on February 12th.
Friday, February 12th, 2021
Saturday, February 12th, 2022
Sunday, February 12th, 2023
Monday, February 12th, 2024
Wednesday, February 12th, 2025