Happy Birthday, NAACP.
It was 100 yeas ago today that the venerable civil rights organization was born, and through the years it has been on the front line of nearly every significant battle black America has waged.
Now some whisper that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has outlived it usefulness. What place does it have in a nation that emphatically elected Barack Obama its chief executive?
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Meanwhile, here’s a sampling of what others are saying on the NAACP’s centennial:
“Like the United States, the NAACP owes its birth to violence — the 1908 race war in Springfield, Ill., sparked by false rape accusations, which nearly leveled the town that bred Abraham Lincoln, born a century, to the day, before the organization’s founding. In Springfield, an angry majority “went on a killing spree, a burning-down spree and a chasing-the-blacks-out-of-town-spree,” says Roger Wilkins, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and prominent alumnus of the civil rights movement. When the fires went out, W.E.B. DuBois and Ida B. Wells, along with a group of former abolitionists, decided that their nascent plans to organize against endemic racial inequality could not wait. “Their minds were blown by the savagery of Springfield,” says Wilkins, nephew of onetime NAACP head Roy Wilkins; and so the interracial, interfaith coalition—that promised advancement where there had been only oppression—began.” From theroot.com.
NAACP President Benjamin Jealous already has framed his argument for whether the NAACP and its mission of “eliminating race prejudice and removing all barriers of racial discrimination through democratic processes” are still necessary in an America willing to elect a black man president.
He has answered often in recent days — with a pinch of sarcasm — that the NAACP is not the “National Association for the Advancement of a Colored Person“; it is the “National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.” From Washingtonpost.com.
When the NAACP’s relevancy is questioned, the group’s chairman, Julian Bond, can’t help but chuckle.
“People have been asking that for 100 years,” said Bond, 69. “There’s still lots of work for us to do. It sounds odd, but we’ll be working on the same things from the previous 100 years. We fight racial discrimination.” From newsday.com.
“We absolutely still need organizations like the NAACP. We have not shown as a country that we are willing to accept a person based on their individual capabilities. I can’t tell you how mnay poeple I came across, leading up to the election, that said they would not vote for Obama b/c he is black.” Posted by an anonymous reader on charlotteobserver.com.