NAACP celebrates 112th anniversary

Black History Month

Derrick Johnson, President and CEO of the NAACP, pauses while speaking during a press conference announcing a lawsuit by the NAACP and Prince George’s County, Maryland against the US Census Bureau March 28, 2018 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is celebrating its 112th anniversary Friday.

The NAACP is the largest civil rights group in America with over half a million members in 2,200 branches across the nation, including one in Topeka.

The organization’s efforts to advocate for the lives of the African American community have stretched back from the beginning of the 20th century until today, according to the NAACP’s website.

The NAACP began in 1908 in Springfield, Illinois, the final resting place of Abraham Lincoln.

Anti-black violence, including lynching, was commonplace and led to a violent riot.

The outbreak of violence prompted a call to discuss racial injustice in the nation. More than 60 initial members signed on in support of this effort, including civil rights activist W. E. B. Du Bois. He was an American sociologist and author who created the Crisis magazine in 1910 to document and represent the struggles of the Black community. The magazine is still in publication 110 years later.

In the 1930s and 40s, membership grew massively and was the organization’s most prosperous time for legal advocacy.

Through the Great Depression and into the mid-century, the organization fought to address racial discrimination through legal battles, protests and artistic demonstrations.

The organization helped reverse discriminatory doctrines, win jobs for Black Americans and pushed to ban state-mandated segregation. Right now, the NAACP is fighting to promote economic sustainability and public safety in the wake of the coronavirus. It also investigates police brutality, protests mass murders and strives for increased civic engagement.

As 2020 was a landmark year for unprecedented violence and unrest for the Black community, the NAACP has been fighting to make change. During the first 100 days of the Biden/Harris administration, the NAACP recommended cancelling student debt, removing police from schools, granting health care for all and addressing racial violence by police.

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