There are many different opinions of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (N.A.A.C.P.), the premier organization for African-American rights around the world. Some believe that the organization has made great strides towards equality and fairness across the country, and that segregation could still be a prominent fixture today if not for the N.A.A.C.P. Others scrutinize the efforts of the N.A.A.C.P., and claim that it is nothing more than a figurehead organization that doesn’t actually advance the African-American people. This seems to be the sentiment shared in the essay, “Down at the Cross,” by James Baldwin. Although mentioned only briefly in the essay, Baldwin conveys a sense of discouragement towards the N.A.A.C.P., and that there work doesn’t do much good because of their lethargy in the courtroom. (Baldwin, 320) Baldwin asserts that by the time the court decision has been made, the impact of the decision is almost nonexistent, and fails to carry a collective punch. For these reasons, Baldwin believes that the N.A.A.C.P. will never accomplish meaningful, and that they will continue to simply go through the motions, in an almost lifeless manner.
The history of the N.A.A.C.P. dates back to the early 20th century. The organization was founded in 1909 by Mary White Ovington. Ovington had read an article from the New York Post entitled “Race War in the North,” written by William English Walling. Ovington became inspired to learn more about the African-American situation, and set up a meeting with Walling in New York. On February 12th, 1909, approximately 20 or so members met and formed the National Association for the Advancement of Co...
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...essay, Baldwin may have proven to have predicted the fate of the N.A.A.C.P., even if its accomplishments did surpass his own expectations.
Baldwin, James. “Down at the Cross.” 1962. James Baldwin: Collected Essays. Ed. Toni Morrison. New York: Library of America, 1998. 296-347.
Kellogg, Charles Flint. NAACP: A History of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1967.
Connerly, Ward. “The NAACP’s Decline and Fall.” The Wall Street Journal 16 July 2002: A16.
“National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.” Spartacus Educational.
“NAACP Timeline.” National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
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