U.Va.'s Woodson Institute to Hold Symposium on the NAACP's 100th Anniversary

October 19, 2009 — The nation's oldest, largest and most widely recognized civil rights organization, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, is 100 years old this year.

Listen to the UVA Today Radio Show report on this story:

The Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies at the University of Virginia will host a symposium on the NAACP's 100th anniversary Oct. 29 and 30. All events, which are free and open to the public, will be held in the auditorium of the Mary and David Harrison Institute for American History, Literature, and Culture/Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library.

Civil rights pioneer Julian Bond, a professor of history at U.Va. and chairman of the national NAACP, will give the keynote address Oct. 29 at 7:30 p.m. On Oct. 30, he will interview Benjamin Jealous, NAACP president and CEO, at 9:30 a.m. in the auditorium. Jealous will give remarks beforehand at 9 a.m.

The rest of the symposium (see full schedule below) will consist of panel discussions with local and visiting participants on desegregation in education, voting rights, equal access to housing and public accommodations, environmental justice, police brutality and fair employment practices.

"We have invited a stellar cast of scholars for two days of formal presentations and discussions designed to highlight recent developments in academic research on the NAACP," said Deborah McDowell, director of the Woodson Institute.

Members from NAACP branches in Virginia, including the student chapter at U.Va., will join scholars on the discussion panels.

"While conferences on the NAACP are occurring around the nation during this centennial year, hosting one at the University of Virginia holds particular significance," McDowell said. The litigation around school desegregation in Virginia, leading the way to the landmark Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, she said, "is only one example of Virginia's fundamental role in the organization's legal challenge to segregation, especially in the realm of education."

"I thought, 'What better place to observe the centenary than the University of Virginia?,' because the NAACP worked with early applicants for graduate admission to the University who were denied admission because of their race," she said.

The symposium also will consider what social, political and economic issues should inform the NAACP's agenda for the 21st century, including the impact of shifting demographics in the U.S. and the organization's role in advocating global human rights.

Founded Feb. 12, 1909, on Abraham Lincoln's birthday, the NAACP comprises a network of more than 2,200 branches in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Japan and Germany. Headquartered in Baltimore, it has more than 500,000 members and the numbers are still growing.

NAACP 100th Anniversary Symposium

Thursday, Oct. 29

9-9:10 a.m.: Opening remarks
Deborah E. McDowell, Director, Carter G. Woodson Institute

9:15-10:45 a.m.: Groundwork for a Southern Movement (Emma Edmunds, U.Va., moderator)
Ervin Jordan, U.Va., "'To Go Boldly': Alice Jackson, African-American Women, and the Desegregation of the University of Virginia"
Claudrena Harold, U.Va., "The Hour Has Come: The NAACP and the Struggle for Racial Justice in the New South"
Lara Fergeson, Longwood University, "Groundwork for a Southern Movement: The NAACP in Virginia"

11 a.m.-12:45 p.m.: The Legal Campaign Against Segregated Schools (Patrice Grimes, U.Va., moderator)
NAACP documentary, "A Study of Educational Inequalities in South Carolina"
Robert A. Pratt, University of Georgia, "Into the Lion's Den: The Role of Local NAACP Attorneys in the Campaign Against School Segregation and the Fight for Racial Justice"
Mildred W. Robinson, U.Va., "Brown v. Board of Education from the Ground Up: Glimmers of Light, Opportunities Lost and Grievous Costs"

1-2:30 p.m.: Lunch

2:45-4:30 p.m.: Recasting the Legacy of the NAACP (Frank Dukes, U.Va., moderator)
Ronald Walters, University of Maryland, "Recasting the Legacy of the NAACP: Fighting 20th Century Slavery"
Herbert Timothy Lovelace, U.Va., "Close the Dump: The Roanoke Virginia NAACP and the Struggle against Environmental Racism"
Ian Grandison, U.Va., "Other Side of the 'Free' Way: College Campuses and Racialized Territories in the Wake of Massive Resistance"

5 p.m.: Reception

7:30 p.m. Keynote address, Julian Bond, "The Beginning of Something Big"

Friday, Oct. 30

9-11 a.m.: The NAACP: The National Stage
Remarks: Benjamin Todd Jealous, NAACP president and CEO, followed by
Julian Bond interviewing Jealous

11:15 a.m.-12:45 p.m.: Labor and the NAACP (Robert Fatton, U.Va., moderator)
Francille Wilson, University of Southern California, "A Corporal's Guard for Negro Workers: Black Social Scientists and the NAACP's Policies during the Depression"
Risa Goluboff, U.Va., "The Lost Promise of Civil Rights: Evaluating the NAACP in the Pre-Brown Era"
M. Rick Turner, president of the Charlottesville NAACP

12:50-1:50 p.m.: Lunch

2-3:30 p.m. The NAACP: 100 Years and Beyond (Marlon B. Ross, U.Va., moderator)
Daylanne K. English, McCalester University, "The Thorny Stem of Time: One Hundred Years of Crisis (NAACP's magazine)"
Patricia Sullivan, University of South Carolina, "Beyond 'Eyes on the Prize': The NAACP and the Struggle for Civil Rights"
Dianne Pinderhughes, University of Notre Dame, "The NAACP's Second Century: Organizational, Economic, Demographic and Philosophical Challenges"

3:45-5 p.m.: Lift Every Voice: The NAACP and the Making of the Civil Rights Movement: A Roundtable
Kenneth Mack, Harvard University
Raymond Gavins, Duke University
Daryl Scott, Howard University

— By Anne Bromley

Media Contact