To mark the centennial of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Library of Congress launched a new online exhibition on Feb. 3 and hosted a symposium on Feb. 26. The Library of Congress is the repository for the NAACP Records. Comprising some 5 million records, the archive is the largest single collection every acquired by the Library and the most heavily used. The Library’s NAACP online exhibition and symposium both were made possible by the generous support of AARP.
A new online exhibition featuring the NAACP’s century-long fight for freedom is accessible on the Library’s website at myloc.gov/exhibitions/naacp/.
The site features nearly 70 treasures from the NAACP’s storied history, including “The Call,” Oswald Garrison Villard’s manifesto that launched the NAACP; the organization’s constitution and bylaws; photos of such key events as the New York Silent Protest of 1917, the Marian Anderson concert at the Lincoln Memorial in 1939 and Rosa Parks’ 1955 arrest; documents about investigations of lynchings; President Harry Truman’s executive orders barring discrimination in the federal government and military; the Supreme Court decisions on discrimination; the Voting Rights Act of 1965; and background on seminal figures in the NAACP. The online exhibition will expand to eventually feature some 150 items.
“We are proud, at the Library, to make these historic NAACP records available to Congress and the American people,” Billington said. “This is both our largest collection, encompassing some 5 million items, and our most widely used collection. It is a stellar example of how access to the primary documents of our history—even our relatively recent history—can be important and deeply moving to researchers and visiting citizens alike. The importance of this organization to the lives of African Americans—those alive today and their forebears and descendants—cannot be overstated,” Billington said.