Separate Is Not Equal - Brown v. Board of Education

Smithsonian National Museum of American History Behring Center

Segregated America
The Battleground
Legal Campaign
  • Howard University
  • Charles Hamilton Houston
  • Preparing for Struggle
  • The NAACP
  • NAACP’s Legal Team
  • “Mr. Civil Rights”
  • Targeting Higher Education
  • Power of Precedent
  • Turning Point
Five Communities Change a Nation
The Decision
NAACP membership card

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest civil rights organization. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, the association led the black civil rights struggle in fighting injustices such as the denial of voting rights, racial violence, discrimination in employment, and segregated public facilities. Dedicated to the goal of an integrated society, the national leadership has always been interracial, although the membership has remained predominantly African American.

Silent march

Silent march

Anti-lynching demonstrations by the NAACP challenged the American people and government to face the violence of lynching. Approximately 8,000 black Americans marched down Fifth Avenue in New York City in a silent protest against ongoing murder, violence, and racial discrimination on July 28, 1917.
(Courtesy of Library of Congress)
NAACP objects


The NAACP focused on five major areas from 1920 to 1950: anti-lynching legislation, voter participation, employment, due process under the law, and education. At yearly conventions in different cities around the country, it drew attention to regional needs and interests and encouraged nationwide participation.
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