This Day in Black History: The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was founded

HOUSTON –  The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or NAACP, was founded on Feb. 12, 1909 by W.E.B. Du Bois, Ida B. Wells, Mary White Ovington, Oswald Garrison Villard, Archibald Grimke, William English Walling, Dr. Henry Moskowitz, Lillian Wald and Mary Church Terrell.

Known as the nation’s oldest, largest and most widely recognized civil rights organization, the NAACP was created due to a deadly race riot in Springfield, Illinois in 1908.

The Springfield race riot of 1908 was sparked due to the arrest of two African American men who were accused of performing violent crimes against Caucasian individuals. An angry mob tried to find the two men and lynch them, but they started a riot in African American neighborhoods when they discovered deputies transferred the men out of Springfield. The angry mob killed African American citizens on the street and destroyed their businesses and homes. As a result of the riot, two African Americans were lynched.

Disgusted and disappointed by the result of the riot, a group of white liberals — Mary White Ovington, Oswald Garrison Villard, William English Walling and Dr. Henry Moscowitz — called for a meeting to discuss racial justice. W.E.B. Du Bois, Ida B. Wells-Barnett and Mary Church Terrell respectfully agreed and joined the meeting.

In 1910, The NAACP established its national office in New York City. In the same year, W.E.B. Du Bois founded The Crisis magazine— an official publication of the NAACP and the voice for civil rights. By 1913, the NAACP established branch offices in cities such as Boston, Baltimore, Kansas City, St. Louis, Washington D.C. and Detroit. The NAACP membership grew rapidly with over 9,000 members in 1917 to over 90,000 in 1919.

Because of the NAACP, historic moments such as The Civil Rights Movement, Brown v. Board of Education, the anti-lynching bill, Voting Rights Act, desegregation, LGBT rights and other powerful movements were able to make an unforgettable, positive impact on minorities and genders.

With its headquarters located in Baltimore,Maryland, the NAACP continues to be the boldest and courageous organization that allows individuals to find their voices and eliminate discrimination.

NAACP Mission Statement:

The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.