NAACP ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVES. Formed in 1909 as a direct response to racial violence in America, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for years relied on a unique legal and legislative strategy to combat racial discrimination and achieve full equality in all sectors of American society. Through trial and appellate court action, government lobbying, and public demonstrations, the NAACP influenced positive change in school desegregation, voting rights, public accommodations, and open housing.
In recent years, NAACP increasingly has devoted its resources to economic empowerment. The organization’s leadership has viewed this focus as the natural outgrowth of its successful push for social and legal equality throughout this century. With diminished enthusiasm for public support of economic development for African Americans, the NAACP Board of Directors launched a program strategy in 1981 focusing on private sector support to promote the growth and development of entrepreneurship and employment opportunities among blacks through a couple of key initiatives.
A central initiative in this regard has been the Operation Fair Share program, which was created in the early 1980s. The principal aim of Operation Fair Share is to ensure that a ‘‘fair share’’ of the money spent by African American consumers will be used by major corporations to benefit blacks in the areas of job development and business opportunities. Through this program, voluntary agreements are negotiated with major corporations to identify goals for each of several Fair Share objectives, which include: (1) establishment of minority vendor programs aimed at increasing the purchase of goods and services provided by black-