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The African American Civil Rights Organization: A Timeline and its Objectives

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African American Civil Rights Organization (1896-1945)

During the time period between 1896 to 1945, many movements regarding human rights were formed in response to the incidences of social injustices against the African Americans which were on the rise as at the time. The African Americans and other minority groups living in the United States were subjected to discrimination and poor treatment particularly in social places simply because of their nationality, gender, and cultural backgrounds. These social injustices facilitated the creation of various civil rights movements to combat racism and fight for civil rights. The African American citizens wanted to gain equal rights and enjoy privileges just like any other Americans as enshrined in the law in the United States. Thus, the African Americans were advocating for equality of people regardless of their nationality, religion, and gender (ABC-Clio Information Services).

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Nonetheless, slavery and the discrimination against the blacks continued to endure the devastating effects of racism particularly in the late nineteenth century (ABC-Clio Information Services). However, during the early twentieth century, the African American became more informed about their civil rights as they had had more prejudice and violence against them. As a result, they were determined to combat racism. Therefore, this article highlights the objectives and some of the leaders of the various African American civil rights organization established between the time period of 1896 to 1945. As well, the article will stretch a step further in assessing the effectiveness of the various human rights movements so as to determine how successful they were in the first and second quarter of the 20th century.

National Association of Colored Women’s Club (NACWC)

The establishment of NACW took place on the 21st of July 1896 at the National Confederation of black women first Annual convention in Washington D.C. However, it was incorporated in 1904 to the NACWC adopting the phrase “Lifting as We Climb” as its motto, so as to advocate for an end to social injustices against women such as lynching, Jim Crow Laws, and women suffrage (Leslie).

The founding members of the NACWC include but not limited to Mary Church Terrell, Harriet Tubman, Frances Harper and Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin (Leslie). Nevertheless, Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin and Mary Church Terrell were the most significant and influential leaders of the movement as they successfully lead campaigns castigating the suffrage of women, lynching, and Jib Crow laws (Leslie). Also, they played an important role in advocating for the improvement of education for both the children and elderly in the society.

As a result of the able leadership, determination, and popularity of the NACWC particularly during the early 20th Century, the movement’s efforts came to fruition during the early 20th century. Consequently, the rights of women and children became more vocal and they were protected. Also, there were greater developments in learning programs and facilities which aimed at enlightening, informing, developing and improving women and children’s intellectual capacity through education. Ultimately, the social welfare of woman and children improved significantly (Leslie).

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)

The NAACP was a joint product of the black and white activists who combined their efforts and came together to form the civil rights organization on the 12th of February 1909. The formation of NAACP was to counteract the violence against African Americans which was rampant during the late 19th Century. Therefore, the mission of the NAACP was to ensure that equality of people respective of their education, color, religion, and socio-political background prevail. Thus, NAACP was formed to combat and eliminate racism and discrimination in all aspects of life and consequently safeguard the constitutional rights of African American (Kellogg).

Among the founding members of NAACP includes Race Riot, W.E.B and Mary White with Du Bois being the most influential leader. Du Bois did not only lead NAACP successfully in its quest to eliminate and abolish segregation and discrimination against the African Americans but also he was a strong advocate for anti-lynching (Kellogg). For instance, in 1918, Du Bois with the help of NAACP civil rights movements persuaded president Woodrow Wilson to condemn lynching of Africa Americans. Moreover, he played significant roles with regards to activism in attempts to secure enactment of civil rights laws to ensure equality of citizens of the United States irrespective of their diverse differences (Kellogg).

In the early 20th century, the NAACP become successful because it incorporated an independent and legal aspect of the movement boosting the efficiency and effectiveness of the organization. However, it was later litigated to the supreme court where the ruling of the case resulted in the high court’s landmark with regards to desegregation decision. Additionally, in 1946, it won major victories barring violence, racial segregation, and discrimination against the black race. This was a significant achievement as it is set the stage for freedom rides (Kellogg).

National Urban League (NUL)

The NUL civil rights movement was established in New York City, on the 29th of September 1910. Its mission was to eliminate racial segregation and discrimination against African Americans and by extension other minority groups in the United States (Parris and Brooks).Therefore, the NUL sought to help the black race and other minority groups in the U.S adjust to urban life by getting access to better housing, improved healthcare facilities, good learning and educational facilities and get better jobs irrespective of the race or nationality they came from.

The founding members of the National Urban League were Dr. George Haynes and Ruth Baldwin who were also among the most influential leaders of the civil rights movement as well (Parris and Brooks). Both Dr. George Haynes and Ruth Baldwin advocated strongly the struggle for social justice such as racism and discrimination of people on the basis of gender, color, religion and ethnical background. Moreover, both leaders managed to significantly expand the campaigns of the NUL weakening the barriers to black employment placing African Americans in a better position of getting employment opportunities just like their Americans counterparts (Parris and Brooks).

Being a strong advocate of equality and a defender against African Americans racial segregation and discrimination, the league has successfully managed to excel in some of its operations. For instance, in the early 20th century, the NUL emerged as one of the strongest forces in the struggle for social injustices and fight for civil rights. As a result, the league broadens its vision by embracing and advocating for issues such as protection of the environment, conservation of energy and general problems such as poverty (Parris and Brooks).

Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA)

The establishment of the UNIA took place in Jamaica in 1914 with Marcus Garvey being the most influential leader of the movement as well as the founder member. The UNIA sought to bring about and ensure equality and fair treatment of African Americans living in the U.S. Consequently, the UNIA advocated for freedom and economic development among the black race. Also, the civil right movement was seeking for the improvements in education and training facilities, better housing and improved nutrition and healthcare for the general purpose of uplifting the black race (Hill and Garvey).

Nonetheless, the UNIA proved significant to the African Americans in the first phase of America’s life. For instance, the UNIA fostered unity, integration and peaceful coexistence among the Africans Americans living in the U.S which would, in turn, boost their economic and socio-cultural success. This enhanced equality and respect for the African Americans. Also, the UNIA’s strong advocacy of nationalism enhanced the pride and heritage of citizens of the African descent. As a result, the African Americans became more corporate and politically-minded people informed about their social and legal acceptance of human rights and hence upholding and safeguarding their constitutional rights (Hill and Garvey).

In conclusion, the origins of the human rights organizations particularly during the late nineteenth century and the early twentieth century were primarily as a result of the quest to combat social injustices and fight for civil rights (ABC-Clio Information Services). The Africans Americans had had enough of the violence and the prejudice of being subjected to racial segregation and discrimination in the American Land. As a result, the established the civil rights organization was geared towards facilitating and enhancing their struggle for social injustices and fight for civil rights.

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