NAACP Centennial : The Picture ShowIt's difficult to conceive that, had our current president been born a mere 100 years ago, he wouldn't have been able to sit at the same table, drink from the same water fountain or attend the same schools as his white counterparts — to say nothi...
It's difficult to conceive that, had our current president been born a mere 100 years ago, he wouldn't have been able to sit at the same table, drink from the same water fountain or attend the same schools as his white counterparts — to say nothing of the fact he would have only recently gained the right to vote. And yet here he is today in Washington, in the most powerful position our country has to offer.
In response to the lynching of two black men in Springfield, Ill., in 1908, a multiracial group of activists founded the NAACP on Feb. 12, 1909. Among the founders was W.E.B. Du Bois, a Harvard scholar, activist and influential writer.
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Among the other founding members were Mary Church Terrell, a writer and activist, and Mary White Ovington, a suffragist, socialist and Unitarian, pictured here on a commemorative stamp.
The NAACP has a long history of protest and civil disobedience. Marchers protest lynching laws in July 1917.
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After the Daughters of the Revolution barred celebrated opera singer Marian Anderson from performing at Constitution Hall in 1939, the NAACP worked with first lady Eleanor Roosevelt to move the concert to the Lincoln Memorial. More than 75,000 people attended the free concert.
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Roy Wilkins, a prominent civil rights activist, served as assistant NAACP secretary from 1931 to 1934 and became editor of the NAACP magazine Crisis when Du Bois left in 1934. In 1964, he became the executive director of the NAACP before retiring at the age of 76.
Rosa Parks is photographed at the Montgomery (Ala.) Sheriff's Department after her arrest for civil disobedience. Her refusal to give up a bus seat for a white passenger in 1955 sparked a bus boycott in Montgomery and became a symbol of the civil rights movement.
Montgomery County Sheriff's Office/AP
In 1960, members of the NAACP Youth Council led a series of sit-ins at segregated lunch counters in Greensboro, N.C., which eventually resulted in more than 60 stores officially desegregating. Ezell Blair Jr., 17, (center) was the student leader in the first sit-down demonstration. With him are fellow student Joseph McNeil (left) and NAACP leader Dr. George Simkins.
Policemen drag a protester away from an anti-segregation march in Jackson, Miss., on May 31, 1963.
Police arrest NAACP leaders Roy Wilkins (left) and Medgar Evers (center) for picketing in downtown Jackson, Miss., on June 1, 1963. Evers was murdered just a few days later by Byron De La Beckwith, a member of the Ku Klux Klan.
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., civil rights leader and head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, delivers his famous "I Have A Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington on Aug. 28, 1963. He was assassinated five years later.
James H. Meredith, the first black man to enroll in the University of Mississippi (left), sits with Myrlie Evers, widow of Medgar Evers, and Evers' brother Charles in Jackson, Miss., on Aug. 16, 1963.
President Lyndon B. Johnson extends his hand to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. after presenting King with one of the 72 pens used to sign the ground-breaking Civil Rights Act of 1964. The legislation effectively outlawed racial segregation in schools, public places and employment.
In 1967, Thurgood Marshall became the first black justice on the Supreme Court. As the NAACP's chief counsel, Marshall was also a key player in the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case, which found racial segregation in schools unconstitutional.
Julian Bond, chairman of the NAACP since 1998, looks at a portrait of himself that was taken by renowned photographer Richard Avedon in 1963, when Bond was a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.
Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images
The NAACP is 100 years old, with a rich past and an auspicious future. Today the organization is led by CEO and President Benjamin Todd Jealous.
Photo courtesy naacp.org
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If that's difficult to conceive, then it's easy to take for granted the fruits of a long and tedious struggle for civil rights. Today the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) celebrates its centennial anniversary, and indeed there is much to celebrate. Here's a look back at its history and the fight for civil rights.
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