The Impact of National Association For The Advancement Of Colored People

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Established in 1909, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is one of the largest as well as the oldest civil rights organization in the United States up to date. White and black activists responded to the violence that was aimed at the African Americans and decided to form NAACP in New York City (Hamilton and Ture, 2011). The organization prevailed during the early year after its initiation with its anti-lynching campaigns and proceeded with its mission during the civil rights era. For more than a century now, NAACP has changed the lives of many Americans and benefited millions of people in terms of education, employment and healthcare among other things. It is therefore one of the most important organizations in the United States because of the good relationship it has with the society in terms of fighting for the underprivileged, as well as influencing change in the community.

Background Information on NAACP

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was established as a result of the ongoing violence against the African American people in the United States. Some whites, as well as black activists, got an idea of how to eliminate racial violence by fighting for the rights of the African American through an organization that would foster change in terms of how the community perceives people of color. In February 1909, an interracial group formed the organization in partial response to the Springfield race riot that happened in Illinois (Morris, 2017). The event followed two black men who were held in Springfield jail for the allegations of committing crimes against white people. The two prisoners were furtively transferred to a jail in an alternative city which resulted in white mob burning down 40 homes in a residential district where the blacks lived in Springfield (Morris, 2017). The mob also killed two African Americans and most of the local businesses were ransacked. Consequently, more than two thousand blacks were displaced from their homes.

The founding members of the organization included white progressives such as Mary White Covington, William English Walling as well as African Americans including W.E.B. Du Bois and Mary Church Terrell (Hamilton and Ture, 2011). Together with the founders were other members who were involved in the Niagara Movement that was led by Du Bois, a sociologist and writer. Some of the members were social workers, suffragists, journalists as well as intellectuals who saw the need of strengthening the rights of the African Americans in the society. At the start, the organization promised to champion for equal rights as well as eliminate racial prejudice in addition to advancing the rights of the colored people to vote, their legal justice, employment and education (Morris, 2017). The first president of the organization was Moorfield Storey, a white lawyer and Du Bois who was the only black person on the initial founding tea served as the director of research and publications. Du Bois actually started ‘The Crisis” which was the leading publication that greatly motivated black writers. In addition, the journal circulated the news of the activism of civil rights and also promoted such things as black poetry and art. The vision of the journal was to fight and eliminate mainstream stereotypes of the black race.

The majority of the participants of the many chapters held by the organization were mainly the African Americans. The formal leadership mainly fell on the side of the whites but slowly by slowly, the organization was transformed to accommodate leadership from the African American. In fact, by the era of the First World War, black males such as James Weldon and Walter White took the lead roles in the organization as national leaders as pointed out by Morris (2017). In most cases, the organization relied on black women majorly at the branch level. Many women who were associated with the National Association of Colored Women (NACW) actively participated in the activities of NAACP such as fundraising as well as membership drives (Hamilton and Ture, 2011). By the late 1930s, women such as Ella Baker and Juanita Jackson became important leaders of the NAACP for the national organization of the association. The organization continued to grow through tough times and its membership continued to increase.

Impacts of NAACP on the Community

NAACP has played a significant role in uniting the communities in the United States through its campaigns and rallies. The short-term outcomes of the activities of the organization have been seen over the years and they have significantly changed the lives of many people especially the African Americas. For instance, the organization actively helped in the persuasion of Woodrow Wilson, the then president, to denounce lynching in 1918 (Hamilton and Ture, 2011). Lynching was common after slavery was abolished as a way to instill fear among the African Americans. Racial control was also a norm at the time and lynching was used to reestablish the supremacy of the whites. NAACP played a significant role in the decline of lynching through its activism over the years. Additionally, the organization was also involved in many political actions to secure the enactment of the civil rights laws in the 1950s and 1960s as pointed out by Hall (2011).

Another impact of the organization on the community was in the Brown v. Board of Education in which segregation in public school was outlawed (Morris, 2017). This was a great advantage to the African American children who started to enjoy freedom in their schools. Thurgood Marshall, a pioneering attorney who was the head of NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund (LDF) won the case that ended segregation in public schools (Hamilton and Ture, 2011). In addition, he was able to win other cases through the support of the organization. For instance, he was able to win the case that involved discriminatory housing practices which allowed many African Americans to have freedom in their housing practices (Morris, 2017). Thurgood Marshall who founded LDF in 1940 was the first African American in the United States to serve as a justice in the Supreme Court (Hamilton and Ture, 2011). This was majorly contributed by his role in the NAACP. The organization also lobbied for the passage of landmark legislation successfully such as the Civil Rights Act. This act of 1964 prohibited discrimination in terms of gender, race, color as well as national origin. In 1963, the organization helped in the planning of the March on Washington, a civil rights rally, and also played a significant role in the initiative of the Mississippi Freedom Summer that was meant to register the Blacks living in Mississippi to vote (Hall, 2011).

Long-Term Effects of the Organization and Change to the Community

NAACP has changed the lives of many African Americans throughout history and many owe their freedom to the efforts of the organization. To begin with, segregation was a common practice in the United States since the introduction of slavery and even after its abolishment. Apart from fighting segregation in public schools, the organization gained victory in its fight for Morgan v. Virginia which successfully ended segregation in traveling from one state to another (Hamilton and Ture, 2011). Victory over segregation set the stage for the common Freedom Rides of 1961 where the Supreme Court held that segregation in the interstate bus as well as rails was to be unconstitutional. The campaigns against segregation served as the basis of the modern Civil Rights Movement and the organization continues to offer its support. This was a significant change in the lives of the African Americans who up to date enjoy the freedom to travel without segregation.

Although the field director of the organization was murdered in 1963, NAACP gained national prominence enabling it to continue fighting for the rights of the people of color. The organization was influential in the passage of Voting Rights Act of 1965 which was signed into law by President Johnson. The Act was aimed at overcoming the legal barriers at both the state and local levels, therefore enabling the African Americans to exercise their rights to vote (Hall, 2011). Additionally, the organization publicized opposition to South Africa’s apartheid policies and the effects can still be seen today. NAACP has continued to promote social change through education and campaigns to fight social injustices, violence in youths as well as encouraging economic enterprise among the African Americans. Moreover, the organization has educated many African Americans concerning their constitutional rights as well as their participation in the political processes (Hamilton and Ture, 2011). Through the agendas of NAACP, the community has changed for good and the social structures have also transformed. There is also peace and respect among the different people of color in the United States because of the efforts of the organization, both locally and internationally.

Although NAACP has faced criticism from the outside pressure, the community agrees with the social changes it brings due to its achievements (Hall, 2011). The organization, through its many branches in the world, has held numerous meetings in which the focus has been community relations. For instance, the organization has held forums to discuss the relationship between the police and the community as well as racial relations (Morris, 2017). The impacts that NAACP has on the community was seen from the attendance of their meetings. In one forum held in Columbia to discuss community relations with the police, the event was moved to a larger room because of the multitudes who attended. NAACP has also held many series of community discussions such as that held by Winchester Police Department to discuss and improve race relations in the communities in 2016. These meetings and discussions have significantly transformed community relations.

My personal feelings about NAACP is that it should continue to fight for the rights of the people of color especially the African American and to also fight for positive change in the community. The organization is very significant even in today’s world because it has helped in shaping of community relations for the best. For instance, voting rights and end of segregation was a great achievement of the association because it resulted in a positive social change (Morris, 2017). NAACP has also helped many people get education as well as employment in the U.S. which improved their lives. Through its dedication and commitment, NAACP has transformed the lives of many people in the society and should continue to fight for the rights of the people of color in the United States and the rest of the world as well.


NAACP has played a significant role in the history of the United States especially in fostering social justice for the people of color (Morris, 2017). The organization continues to fight many forms of racial inequality in America amidst some challenges due to de facto systems of racial discrimination. However, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People remains a powerful organization for the promotion of the opportunity for African Americans. In addition, the association has also transformed many lives in the society and promotes community relations through its activities and efforts.


Hall, S. (2011). Peace and freedom: The civil rights and antiwar movements in the 1960s. University of Pennsylvania Press.

Hamilton, C. V., & Ture, K. (2011). Black power: Politics of liberation in America. Vintage.

Morris, A. (2017). WEB Du Bois at the center: from science, civil rights movement, to Black Lives Matter. The British journal of sociology, 68(1), 3-16.

August 01, 2023

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