Freedom's Sword: The NAACP and the Struggle against Racism in America, 1909-1969

By Gilbert Jonas | Go to book overview
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6.

World War II and Its Consequences for Race

Currently [in 1944] there are 481 branches of the Association …77 youth councils and 22 college chapters. The total membership…is approximately 85,000…. Few similar organizations have reached the organizational stability and the membership size of the NAACP. It should be stressed that, while the lack of a mass following is a weakness, the high intellectual quality of the membership is an asset. Few organizations in the entire country compare with the NAACP in respect to the education and mental alertness of the persons attracted to it. In a study of 5,512 Negro college students…, Charles Johnson found that 25 percent of them were members of the NAACP. No other organization of Negroes approached that percentage. The quality of the membership is reflected in the National Office.

Gunnar Myrdal,An American Dilemma, New York, 1944, 821

The pattern of life for the Negro in the armed services of the United States, unhappily, is the familiar one in civilian life. Even more unhappily, this military pattern follows the way of race relations in the most backward states of the Deep South instead of the patterns Negroes know in the more enlightened states in the north…. Before it is too late, America needs to realize that

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