A group formerly known as the National Negro Committee opened their first conference in New York City, Feb. 12, 1909. The conference was founded under widespread instances of racial discrimination and hatred that occurred frequently throughout the nation. Among the participants of the conference included some of the organizations founders and also some of the most influential figures in African-American history: William English Walling, Mary White Ovington, W.E.B. DuBois, Ida B. Wells, and Mary Church Terrell. According to a testimonial written by Ovington on the NAACP’s website, the conference recognized the ills of racial discrimination running rampant across the country, even after the Emancipation Proclamation. Its call to order was to recognize the importance of civil, social, and political rights for all.
Nearly one hundred years later, the National Negro Committee would later become what we know as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. As one of the oldest and largest civil rights’ organizations in the nation, the NAACP’s mission of eliminating racial discrimination and ensuring equal rights for all is of extreme importance. From their first legal action in defending the wrongful sentence of Pink Franklin in 1910, the NAACP became heavily involved in the civil rights movement throughout the rest of the century. Their contributions include the passing of the Anti-Lynching Bill in 1922, the Greensboro sit-in of 1960, and their assistance in passing the Voting Rights Act in 1965.
The collegiate chapter of the NAACP at N.C. State is “The contributions of the NAACP has an affect on the NCSU community as a whole in that it continues to be involved in the racial issues that occur on this campus,” says Markesce Patton-Williams, a junior in first year college, “They work hard with the administration to ensure all students have equal opportunities to succeed in all aspects of college life.” Recently, the NAACP, along with many student-led organizations, faculty, and staff have participated eliminating hate crimes on campus.
To commemorate the anniversary, the state-wide chapter of the NAACP have helped organize and will participate in the third Historic Thousands on Jones Street (HK on J III) on Feb. 14. An event held in conjunction with NC Fair Share, the purpose of the HK on J rally and march is to promote civil and social justice for those living in Raleigh and all over North Carolina.
The history and purpose behind the organization serves as influential for both members and non-members alike. As a member of the NC State chapter, Patton believes that being a part of the organization has changed him for the better. “Personally, I feel that the NAACP has sparked an awakening within myself to become more involved in changing our future for the better and in changing the lives of youth and teenagers.”