In Search of Democracy: The NAACP Writings of James Weldon Johnson, Walter White, and Roy Wilkins (1920-1977)

By Sondra Kathryn Wilson | Go to book overview

Appendix A
The National Association for the
Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)

A Chronology
(January 1909-July 1977)

1909

In January, several people meet in William English Walling's apartment to discuss the idea of creating a national biracial organization to help right social injustices. They are Dr. Henry Moskowitz, a socialist and social worker among New York immigrants; Miss Mary White Ovington, a social worker and descendant of abolitionists; and Walling, a wealthy Southerner, a socialist, and a writer whose article in the Springfield, Illinois, periodical, The Independent, on the 1908 riots arouses widespread sympathy over the treatment of AfricanAmericans; Charles Edward Russell, a close friend of Walling's, and Oswald Garrison Villard, publisher of the liberal New York Evening Post. It is agreed that a public campaign should open on Lincoln's birthday to obtain the support of a much larger group of citizens. This initial group is made biracial by the inclusion of Bishop Alexander Walters of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church and the Rev. William Henry Brooks, minister of St. Mark's Methodist Episcopal Church of New York. Augmenting this group are such other black leaders as W. E. B. Du Bois, Ida Wells Barnett, W. L. Bulkley, the Rev. Francis J. Grimke, and Mary Church Terrell, all of whom sign the Lincoln Day Call. In a letter of encouragement to the conferees, William Lloyd Garrison, Jr., son of the Boston abolitionist, expresses the hope "that the conference will utter no uncertain sound on any point affecting the vital subject."

On February 12, over the signature of sixty persons, the Lincoln Day Call is issued calling for a meeting on the concept of creating an organization that will be an aggressive watchdog for AfricanAmerican liberties. This date marks the founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Based on the "NAACP Highlight" (a pamphlet), 1980.

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