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On February 12, 1909, a diverse group of people, whites, blacks and Jews founded the NAACP. Many founders were also part of the Niagra Movement. The goal of the group was to fight for civil rights in the U.S., and many claim that the 1908 Race Riot in Springfield, Illinois sparked its formation.

Founding Members of the NAACP

W.E.B. Du Bois – an historian and Pan-Africanist, who was the first African-American to earn a doctorate and become a professor.


Ida B. Wells – an editor and journalist. She was very involved in documenting lynching in the U.S., showing how it was often used as a way to punish or control blacks who were considered to be competition by whites.

Archibald Grimke –  a journalist, lawyer, intellectual who served as vice president for the organization.

Henry Moskowitz – a Jewish civil rights activist who later served as president of NYC’s Municipal Civil Service Commission, Commisioner of Public Markets and who became the Executive Director of the Broadway League.

Mary White Ovington – a journalist, suffragist and Republican who ended up serving the organization for 38 years.

Oswald Garrison Villard – a journalist who donated space for the first meeting’s announcement in the New York Evening Post.

William English Walling – an American labor reformer who was also a founder of the National Woman’s Trade Union League.

Florence Kelley – a political reformer who is well-respected for her fight for the minimum wage, children’s rights, 8-hour workdays and against sweatshops.

Charles Edward Russell – an opinion columnist, journalist, editor and activist.

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