Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - NAACP presentation
NAACP – 1950’s
The NAACP was originally founded by a multi-racial group of people in 1909 who all
fought for and believed in civil rights. This group was leaded by W.E.B DuBois.
The main objective of this group was to fight for equal rights for black people and try to
get rid of racial discrimination and hatred.
The NAACP didn’t really take off until 1939 were between this year and 1942 the total
number of members went from 50,000 to 450,000. This allowed the NAACP to fight
more fiercely for equal rights and were more of a threat to the current system at the
time, allowing them to take to court cases and win them more often than not. However,
some members joined other groups which became subsections of the NAACP such as
the Louisiana Progressive Voters League who were involved in some protests which
gave them a more direct option to tackling racism rather than just going to court cases.
By 1950 the NAACP had grown in both size and power drastically since 5 years earlier.
This meant that they were being taken more and more seriously and would continue to
be grow drastically for the next 5 years.
Their earliest court cases from 1944-50 were a shock to most of the American public.
The Smith Vs Allwright case was incredibly important as it concerned the voting rights
of black people in Texas. When in 1944 Lonnie E. Smith challenged the law, he took it to
the supreme court and, with the backing of the NAACP he won the case and gained
equal voting rights for black people.
Another court case was the Morgan Vs Virginia case. In 1944 Irene Morgan challenged
the segregation on interstate bus services. She was fined $100 for not giving up her seat
for a white person. She argued that segregation is wrong and took her case to
court with backing of the NAACP’s chief lawyer, Thurgood Marshall and
in 1946 the supreme court ruled segregation on interstate busses
Although the NAACP are known for winning the majority of court cases that they took
to, they also took to, the more conventional, non violent protest such as picketing and
boycotting between 1945 and 1955.
For example in 1947, NAACP supporters picketed New Orleans four biggest department
stores for refusing black customers to try on hats. In 1951 the NAACP did the same
thing in Alexandra to protest about black school closing for black children to work in the
fields. In 1953 the NAACP organised a boycott of a recently built school in Lafayette
because it was obvious that the facilities were inferior to those at the white school.
Other groups such as the UDL, CNO, CIO and CORE also protested for equal rights for
black people in the same period. And example is the UDL’s ‘week-long bus boycott’ in
Louisiana – Baton Rouge in 1953. This was accompanied by a ‘Operation Free Lift’
which was a car pooling scheme to get African Americans around the city.
How Successful was the NAACP in 1945-55
In general, the NAACP were very successful between 1945-55. They set up many things
to help bring about racial equality, for example in 1946 they set up a special unit of
lawyers to go to the scene of lynchings and collect evidence. Then they would track
down the perpetrators and take them to court were they would be brought to justice.
This was very successful because by 1955 lynchings had dropped in number
dramatically whereas they had been common in 1940.
However, although the NAACP was successful in what they did, some of the other
groups were not so successful such as the UDL’s boycott which was too short to attract
any attention of the media and so wasn’t taken seriously. Also CORE’s ‘Journey of
Reconcilliation’ was unable to force bus companies in the South to desegregate their
interstate services, as was UDL’s bus boycott as Baton Rouge’s buses stayed segregated.