The NAACP Was Established Febuary 12, 1909

“In August 1908, a White mob, thwarted in an attempt to lynch two Black inmates in the Sangamon County Jail, went on a rampage,” wrote the Illinois-based State Journal-Register as part of a special report marking the 100th anniversary of the event. “Two Black men were lynched and five White men died during the riot, with dozens more injured.”

Something had to be done.

Out of this chaos, the NAACP was born.

A group of White liberals sounded a call and a meeting of about 60 people, including W.E.B. Du Bois, Ida B. Wells-Barnett and Mary Church Terrell, convened to form what would be the NAACP. The group’s aim: “To promote equality of rights and eradicate caste or race prejudice among citizens of the United States; to advance the interest of colored citizens; to secure for them impartial suffrage; and to increase their opportunities for securing justice in the courts, education for their children, employment according to their ability, and complete equality before the law.”

The NAACP opened a national office in New York City in 1910. Moorfield Storey, a White man, was the president. DuBois was the only Black person on the board of directors.

— Lisa Snowden

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