NAACP – Leeds News & Info

Local Leeds Branch information for The NAACP, the Premier Civil Rights organization in the United States, has been a leading force for equality. From its inception in 1909 until today the NAACP continues to push forward in political, economic, and social issues.

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The History of the NAACP in Alabama

The first branch of the NAACP founded in Alabama was at Talladega College, in 1913.  The branch organizer, William Pickens, was dismissed from the college in response to his hard work and recruitment of students for civil rights matters. He abruptly left the college, leaving the first branch to end operations after only a year.

While working on anti segregation work for returning troops  from World War I, the NAACP,  began to add branches. By 1918, 13 branches were founded, including in Montgomery, Alabama. Branches began to start in rural and farming areas through out the state. The legal challenges brought by the National NAACP against Jim Crow Laws in Alabama would soon create unique confrontations and retaliations by the 1950’s.

However, the NAACP in Alabama flourished in the 1940’s. By the mid-1940’s the NAACP had 35 branches and nearly 15,000 members. World War II brought wartime federal relaxing of segregation rules. This caused resentment in Alabama among  white citizens and began a new phase of confrontations. The principle of non-violent resistance coupled with legal representations by the NAACP, created more difficult and soon violent responses by whites and law enforcement.

Many memorable events of the movement took place in Alabama and were “spearheaded” by remarkable leaders. For example, The Montgomery Bus Boycott, the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist  Church in Birmingham, the March from Selma to Montgomery (see post; The Killing of Jimmie Lee Jackson) and many others galvanized the movement and brought attention to the cause far beyond the state. The soldiers in the struggle for equal rights and voting rights responded to those very difficult challenges while their lives were being threatened.

Perhaps the series of desegregation victories, for example, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, prompted the state attorney general to file legal actions against the NAACP .  The unanimous decision in the U.S. Supreme Court case of Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 was felt though out the country especially in the south. State officials decided to declare that the NAACP, and its efforts to register voters and represent blacks in legal actions in the state, would invalidate the NAACP’s status as a non-profit corporation in Alabama since it was based in New York (a brief history of the NAACP). The state requested the membership list of the NAACP members in Alabama.  The NAACP held that information was not required to be given to the state. This action was aimed at stopping the NAACP from conducting any further business in the state and to intimidate seekers of assistance. The NAACP decided to appeal the states decision, eventually the case reached the U.S. Supreme Court.

On January 15th and 16th in 1958,  the case of the NAACP v. the State of Alabama was argued before the United States Supreme Court. On June 30, 1958 the decision was made. It was decided by the court that the NAACP could act freely with its members and others based on the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The “equal protection clause” of the Amendment allowed that citizens of Alabama free association with NAACP’s membership it’s attorneys and any others organization used to assist in helping people.

Through the years many organizations such as the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA), the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights (ACMHR), the Lowndes County Freedom Organization and others worked with the NAACP to further the civil and voting rights for African-American Alabamians.

Alabama was the center of many hard fought battles in the fight for civil and voting rights. It’s because of these struggles many noteworthy leaders in the movement worked in Alabama. Rosa Parks, Fred Shuttlesworth, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and many others took on the fight for equality, setting the stage for fights in other places.

source: The Encyclopedia of Alabama

NAACP in the News

 The oldest and largest civil rights organization has an illustrious history. Many well known leaders contributed to the formation, growth and success of the NAACP.


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Continuing the Struggle in Alabama