Naacp on Its 106Th Anniversaryby Representative Donna F. Edwards
Posted on 2015-02-13
in the house of representatives
Friday, February 13, 2015
Ms. EDWARDS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the National
Association for the Advancement of Colored People, better known as the
NAACP, which is celebrating its 106th Birthday this week.
Since its founding in 1909, the NAACP has been at the forefront of the fight to protect the civil rights of all Americans. The mission statement of the NAACP is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race- based discrimination in the United States. It has done so by advocating and influencing the passage of landmark legislation ranging from the Civil Rights Act to the Voting Rights Act, and monumental court decisions such as the holdings in Brown v. the Board of Education and Smith v. Allwright.
Maryland's 4th Congressional District, made up of portions of Anne Arundel and Prince George's Counties, is the only majority minority suburban district in the country. So I can speak from personal experience to the accomplishments of the NAACP that have impacted my district and constituents.
The NAACP has had a presence in Anne Arundel County since 1944 and has done much to advance the cause of civil rights for its residents. Just as was the case in many other counties across the nation, Anne Arundel County operated under Jim Crow laws until the latter half of the 20th century. Segregation was the law of the land and the County's African-American residents experienced racial discrimination in all aspects of their lives. The NAACP was central in the fight to combat these injustices and worked over the following decades to expand voter participation, legally challenge the segregated school system, and bring the equality of opportunity to Anne Arundel County.
When Hester V. King founded the Prince George's County chapter of the NAACP in 1935, there were 60,000 people living in the county, approximately 10 percent of whom were African-American. But, as in many parts of Maryland, the population exploded in the decades after the Second World War. African-Americans made up a significant part of this population expansion, but found they continued to encounter racial discrimination and segregation. During this transitional period, the NAACP was involved in numerous civil rights issues in Prince George's County, from the legal challenges that led to the elimination of the dual school system to the creation of the Human Relations Commission just to name a few. Prince George's County is now the wealthiest African American-majority County in the United States. This success is thanks in no small part to the NAACP, which has always resolutely placed them in the vanguard of the struggle for equality.
Yet despite all that has been accomplished over the years there is still much to be done. Racial profiling is a pervasive policy in both the workplace and in many police departments all over the country, unequal law enforcement on young black men, and threats to voter access shows that the work championed by the NAACP is as important today as it was 106 years ago at its founding. So while it is right that we look back and recognize all the progress that has been made under their leadership, we also must look to the future to what remains to be accomplished under the continued leadership of the NAACP.