If a Black person gets in trouble, he calls out two names, Jesus and the NAACP.
Today marks the 100th anniversary of an iconic organization reviled by segregationists, conservatives, and Dixiecrats and revered by people of all ethnic groups who seek justice and equality.
The NAACP will be celebrating its status as the oldest civil rights organization in the States with a year long series of events. In addition to the Founders Day ceremonies that will kick off the celebration, the 40th annual NAACP Image Awards hosted by Halle Berry and Tyler Perry will be taking place later this evening in Los Angeles.
It has come a long way since being founded in 1909 by a group of Jewish and African American people in New York. And as Joe Madison's comment that starts this post alludes to, whenever there was trouble and we called on the NAACP, they answered it.
Whether it was getting the message out through its magazine edited by NAACP founder W.E.B. DuBois called Crisis, fighting to enact an anti-lynching bill, topple school segregation, having its legal arm under legendary attorneys Charles Hamilton Houston and future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall attack the laws buttressing Jim Crow, or assisting Civil Rights Movement campaigns, the NAACP has fought on our people's behalf to tackle the issues of the day.
That tradition has continued into this century with the Congressional Civil Rights Report Cards which track the performance of every congressmember and senator on civil rights issues important to our people to calling out the lack of diversity in Hollywood and various industries.
Here's hoping that the NAACP will add to it's mission fighting for the rights of the African-American GLBT people that are its members as well.
It's had a sometimes bumpy ride, and far from being an anachronistic relic of our past, as its new slogan boldly proclaims, the NAACP is now. I shudder to think where we'd be without the NAACP as part of Black America, and in Benjamin Todd Jealous it has a dynamic young leader to take it into its second century.