W.E.B. DuBois Portrait Contest
From The Crisis, October 1929
The NAACP has long had a Junior Division with a special constitution and by-laws. The object of this division is “to teach its members the history and achievements of the Negro race, to familiarize them with the lives of the distinguished men and women that the race has produced, and to cultivate in them an appreciation of their worth; to develop interracial co-operation and understanding, and to train them in the work of the Association.”
Membership in the Junior Division is “open to persons between fourteen and twenty-one years of age who shall pay a membership fee of at least fifty cents—one half of which shall be sent to the National Office and the other half retained by the Junior Division.
“On reaching the age of twenty-one, the Junior Division member shall be transferred to membership in the Branch, where he shall therefore pay the usual membership of the Branch.”
Each division has the usual officers elected by the Division and also a sort of Elder Brother (or Sister) known as the Director, appointed by the Branch of the N.A.A.C.P. under which the Junior Division works. The Division attends to all its own business except that it is subject to the general rules of the N.A.A.C. P. and must conform to the policies of the parent branch. The Juniors are not independent, but they are granted as great a degree of independence as is compatible with their position, and the Director is a sort of liaison officer who advises them.
The Juniors are represented at the annual conference of the N.A.A.C.P. and have a session all to themselves which is usually very interesting. At the Cleveland Conference, 1929, The Juniors made certain demands for recognition which THE CRISIS is hereby heeding.
THE CRISIS has long been interested in young folk. Since October, 1912, it has published an annual Children’s Number. In 1920, we had visions of greater things and launched a separate monthly “designed for all children and especially ours.” We said then that The Brownies’ Book aimed “to be a thing of Joy and Beauty, dealing in Happiness, Laughter and Emulation, and designed especially for Kiddies from Six to Sixteen.
“It will seek to teach Universal Love and Brotherhood for all little folk—black and brown and yellow and white.”
“Of Course, pictures, stories, letters from little ones, games and oh—everything!”
The Brownies’ Book had a beautiful but hectic life of two little years and died of starvation, bemoaned by many a grown-up today. We kept up the annual Children’s Number, and gradually recovering strength and courage, we began in October, 1925, the delightful “Little Page” contributed monthly by Effie Lee Newsome.
Now we are planning something better. As we see it, our past service has been partially nullified by some confusion in our own minds as to whom we were addressing. We have talked rather promiscuously to babies, children, adolescents and young men and women, classed higgledy-piggledly as “Children”. Much misunderstanding has resulted without doubt. So we are definitely taking a stand today.
Henceforth, the babies will get annual attention in our October “Children’s Number”, and in Mr. Pickens’ occasional reports of Babies’ Contests. On the other hand, there will appear at least every other month and, if successful, every month, one or two pages called “THE JUNIOR CRISIS”.
These pages will be the property of the Junior Division—that is, of the youth 14 to 21 years of age, who belong or want to belong or ought to belong to the N.A.A.C.P.
From such members an Editor-in-chief and two assistants will be selected by competition as follows: all members of Junior Divisions are hereby invited to send the THE CRISIS on or before December First, 1929, an essay of 300 words on “How the JUNIOR CRISIS shall be conducted and what it shall aim to do.”
The writers of the First, Second and Third best essays shall be appointed respectively Editor-in-chief and First and Second Assistant Editors. We shall need an Art Editor too, so that instead of essays some may send pictures or original photographs. Effie Lee Newsome has been invited to act as Critic of the page and be in general charge over the editorial staff. She and the Editors of THE CRISIS will decide on the merits of the essays.
So now, Juniors, come on and show us something. Remember, December First!
Many will ask: “How can a Junior Division be formed?” If your city has a Branch select a group of young people and apply to the President, suggesting whom you would like as Director. A Branch may establish several Junior Divisions in the same city with different Directors.
If there is no Branch of the N.A.A.C.P. in your city or near, or if you do not care to join the local division, you may become a member of the Junior Division-at-Large by writing to the Director of the Branches, N.A.A.C. P., 69 Fifth Avenue, N.Y.