York recently acquired Parts 3 – 6 of the NAACP Papers, part of ProQuest’s History Vault. National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is one of the most famous records of the civil rights movement. The collection features nearly two million pages of internal memos, legal briefings, and direct action summaries from national, legal, and branch offices throughout the country. It charts the NAACP’s work and delivers a first-hand view into issues like lynching, school desegregation, and discrimination in the military, the criminal justice system, employment, and housing, among others.
Parts 3 to 6 cover the following:
Papers of the NAACP, Part 03: The Campaign for Educational Equality 1913–1965: Legal Department and Central Office Records Series A: 1913–1940; Series B: 1940–1950; Series C: 1951–1955; General Office Files Series D: 1956–1965
The Education files document the NAACP’s systematic assault on segregated education that culminated in Brown v. Board of Education in 1954. Files from 1955 to 1965 focus on the NAACP’s efforts to implement the Brown decision as well as to combat de facto segregation outside of the South.
Papers of the NAACP, Part 04: The Voting Rights Campaign 1916–1950; Supplement 1 General Office Files 1956–1965
Fighting for voting rights was one of the NAACP’s earliest major campaigns. The 1916–1950 files in this module document in extensive detail the NAACP’s campaign against the “white primary,” discriminatory registration practices, and the “grandfather clause.” Files from 1956–1965 chronicle the NAACP’s efforts to capitalize on the 1957 Civil Rights Act and the much stronger Voting Rights Act of 1965. NAACP’s voter registration efforts during this period are also well documented.
Papers of the NAACP, Part 05: The Campaign against Residential Segregation 1914–1955
Papers of the NAACP, Part 06: The Scottsboro Case, 1931–1950
One of the most celebrated criminal trials of the 20th century is the case of the Scottsboro Boys. In 1931, nine young black men were accused of raping two white women on a train in northern Alabama. Sixteen days after their arrest, eight of the nine teenagers were sentenced to death in the electric chair. All eight escaped execution when the Supreme Court, in the landmark case of Powell v. Alabama, ruled that the defendants had been inadequately represented by counsel. The files document the publicity that this case generated, as well as the competition between the NAACP and the Communist Party in representing the Scottsboro Boys.