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Monday, July 26, 2010

NAACP Useful or Past its' Prime

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People or NAACP, has in my opinion long outlived its' purpose. Its' chief concern seems to be to keep its' tax free status. It is an embarrassment and either needs to be disbanded or in some way evolve. Let's look at this organization.

beginnings of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, The
New Crisis, The, Jan/Feb 1999

 The NAACP is the oldest civil rights organization in America, Dedicated to ending racial inequality and segregation. the association evolved from two organizations. One, the Niagara Movement, began with 29 African Americans who didn't accept Booker T. Washington's dictum that "in all things that are purely social we [blacks and whites] can be as separate as the fingers, yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress."
These individuals from 14 states met at Niagara Falls in 1905, united in wanting "every right that belongs to a freeborn American, civil and social, and until we get these rights we shall never cease to protest and assail the ears of America with the stories of its shameful deeds toward us."
The other group was the "new abolitionists" who gathered after journalist William English Walling reported a Springfield, Illinois, race riot in the liberal New York weekly The Independent. He described the barbarity in Lincoln's hometown and asked: "What large and powerful body of citizens is ready to come to [the Negro`s] aid?"
Walling conceived an idea of a national biracial organization. Mar White Ovington, a descendant of abolitionists and an independently wealthy social worker, wrote to Walling and suggested they form the organization he had in mind. Ovington, Walling and Henry Moskovitz met in New York City to consider a plan of action. The three issued a "call for a conference" on February 12, 1909, the 100th Anniversary of Lincoln's birth. © 2010 CBS Interactive Inc. All rights reserved

There is much more and I encourage you to read the entire article as it shows how the NAACP was active in furthering the equality of people of color. Sadly it does not mention the work of W.E.B. Dubois.This article is not as detailed but a better visceral feel for this organization's beginnings.

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

The association was formed as the direct result of the lynching (1908) of two blacks in Springfield, Ill. The incident produced a wide response by white Northerners to a call by Mary W. Ovington, a white woman, for a conference to discuss ways of achieving political and social equality for blacks. This conference led to the formation (1910) of the NAACP, headed by eight prominent Americans, seven white and one, William E. B. Du Bois, black. The selection of Du Bois was significant, for he was a black who had rejected the policy of gradualism advocated by Booker T. Washington and demanded immediate equality for blacks. From 1910 to 1934 Du Bois was the editor of the association's periodical The Crisis, which reported on race relations around the world. The new organization grew so rapidly that by 1915 it was able to organize a partially successful boycott of the motion picture The Birth of a Nation, which portrayed blacks of the Reconstruction era in a distorted light.
Most of the NAACP early efforts were directed against lynching. In this area it could claim considerable success. In 1911 there were 71 lynchings in the United States, with a black person the victim 63 times; by the 1950s lynching had virtually disappeared. Since its beginning, and with increasing emphasis since World War II, the NAACP has advocated nonviolent protests against discrimination and has disapproved of extremist black groups such as SNCC and the Black Panthers in the 1960s and 70s and CORE and the Nation of Islam in the 1980s and 90s, many of which criticized the organization as passive. While complacent in the 1980s, it became more active in legislative redistricting, voter registration, and lobbying in the 1990s The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2007, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved
There is a bit more here as well and I encourage you to go to this link at your leisure. The point is, however, the NAACP was active and involved in the social movement of the United States. It did not shirk its' duty. It was in no way cowed and was unafraid to take the lead. This, unfortunately is not the NAACP of my adulthood. I do not see this organization as a civil rights group. This group to me is just a non taxed, social organization giving awards and keeping its' proverbial "head down". 
Sadly the most significant act from the NAACP in years was it's fateful misread of the Shirley Sherrod issue that occurred about July 19th. This link in no way gives the whole story. A conservative blogger got this ball rolling with edited tape and the head of the Department of Agriculture and the NAACP "took the proffered bait". I don't want to bog down this piece with more about this specific issue. It's a blog onto itself. Please read "Shirley Sherrod and the Blame Game-Reference Piece for NAACP" from my blogs for more. 
Interestingly enough, though I have said that the NAACP does the "Texas Two-Step" when it comes to the important issues, since their erstwhile beginnings (well I was getting to that issue, trust me), this blunder actually began when the NAACP, rightfully pointed out that the TEA Party had racist elements. The reason it did not resonate was because the NAACP did not "scream" that point from "the rooftops".  It was done at a  national convention in KANSAS CITY, Mo., that was generally closed to questions.  Some news services noticed...Ohh and the TEA Party seemed peeved. The Tea Party is another blog for another day. However let's just say some of its' elements seem to feel strongly enough to attack anyone or anything that is not with them heart, mind and body.

To the point, the NAACP had finally found a platform. Rather the platform seemed to find them. The NAACP had no interest in a fight of any kind. It made an innocuous resolution and took no debate on the issue. The TEA Party or friends of the TEA Party responded with a spliced video and viola the NAACP is relevant, despite itself. Now what does the NAACP do with this "new found" involvement in social injustice? It decides that Shirley Sherrod is a racist and must go. It of course never checked the facts or contacted Miss Sherrod. The NAACP has however taken the time to bury the "N" word 1 and back a call to make Michael Jackson's home and environs a state park 2.... I kid you not.

I send this out as a call to action. The NAACP needs to get back to its' roots and "bedamned" losing its' tax exemptions. It's about social justice for all people. After all, we're all some color 3.

NOTE 1: NAACP Symbolically Buries N-WordBy COREY WILLIAMS
The Associated Press Monday, July 9, 2007; 5:34 PM

NOTE 2: NAACP Backs Proposal to Turn Michael Jackson's Former Home, Neverland, into a State Park Posted by Janet Shan  ©2008 - 2010 The Hinterland Gazette – all rights reserved

NOTE 3: I believe since its' inception the NAACP has helped all people without regard to race.

NOTE : I'm aware that TEA Party is not an acronym and should be presented as Tea ; but as I love tea let's pretend it's an acronym. 

NOTE : NAACP WEB SITE © 2009 - 2010 National Association for the Advancement of Colored People


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