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National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Collection

Noncurrent records and photographs of the NAACP

Since 1964 the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has donated its noncurrent records to the Library of Congress. Numbering over 2.5 million items, the records consist of correspondence clippings, legal briefs, trial transcripts, speeches, articles, memoranda, resolutions, reports, and other printed and manuscript material which provided detailed documentation of the association's growth and activities, particularly after 1919. The greater portion of the collection in the Manuscript Division is arranged in general office, administrative, financial, legal, crisis, youth, and branch files. Among the many topics of concern are discrimination and segregation in business, government, and education; lynchings and the association's antilynching campaign; mob violence; race riots; suppression of the black vote in the South; labor disputes; the associations' efforts to assist government agencies in combating discrimination in World War II; and problems of returning World War II veterans. While focused on the welfare of black Americans in the United States, the records include files dealing with Haiti, the Virgin Islands, and the Pan-African Congress. Represented are correspondence by four of the five founders of the association,Mary White Ovington, Charles E. Russell, Oswald Garrison Villard, and William English Walling; papers of James Weldon Johnson and Walter White, the executive secretaries during the 1920s and 1930s; letters from literary figures associated with the Harlem Renaissance; records of the Scottsboro Defense Committee; and material related to W.E.B. DuBois, A. Philip Randolph, and Paul Robeson. Also included are correspondence and memoranda by various staff members such as Robert Bagnall, Charles Houston, Addie Hunton, Daisy Lampkin, Thurgood Marshall, E. Frederic Forrow, Roy Nash, William Pickens, Herbert Seligmann, John R. Shillady, Arthur and Joel Spingarn, Moorfield Storey, and Roy Wilkins. Records dating from 1909 to 1970 are described in finding aids, and additions to the collection are anticipated. The use of material from the last thirty years is restricted. The NAACP records together with the over five hundred thousand-item collection of National Urban League records make up part of the division's growing resources for the study of black history.

As the NAACP records are processed, pictorial material is transferred to the Prints and Photographs Division. As of September 1978 the Prints and Photographs Division had received approximately five hundred black-and-white photographs produced before 1940. The majority portray staff members or events of interest to the NAACP. Many images relate to the association's antilynching campaign. The photographs are arranged by subject.

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  October 14, 2010
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