HISTORY

The NAACP was established in February 1909 in New York City by an interracial group of activists, partially in response to the 1908 Springfield race riot in Illinois.

In that event, two black men being held in a Springfield jail for alleged crimes against white people were surreptitiously transferred to a jail in another city, spurring a white mob to burn down 40 homes in Springfield’s black residential district, ransack local businesses and murder two African Americans.

The NAACP’s founding members included white progressives Mary White Ovington, Henry Moskowitz, William English Walling and Oswald Garrison Villard, along with such African Americans as W.E.B. Du Bois, Ida Wells-Barnett, Archibald Grimke and Mary Church Terrell.