Amid New Challenges, NAACP Turns 100

Greater New Haven’s NAACP formed in 1917 less than a decade after the national civil rights organization debuted, a recognition of local abolitionists and activists involved in the fight against race hatred and racial discrimination.

One hundred years later, the fight continues.

The chapter celebrated those 100 years of work Wednesday evening at the Peabody Museum with a reception and silent auction fundraising event.

It was a bittersweet celebration for an organization that has sought to eradicate racial inequality and finds that so many years later that the goal hasn’t been completely achieved yet. By some estimates it might still be as elusive as ever.

Branch President Dori Dumas told the crowd gathered at the museum that the primary focus of the Greater New Haven chapter, as with the national organization, has always been to protect civil rights, and to seek equality, justice and fair treatment for all.

“We continue to fight and we will not let anyone turn back the clock,” she said.

Dumas said that means being positioned with “time, talent and money” to fight for justice and find solutions to problems that impact communities of color. The local NAACP chapter has dedicated thousands of hours to expand access to health care, economic opportunity, homeownership, education and voting rights.

Mayor Toni Harp alluded to efforts to turn back the clock under the country’s new leader, President Donald Trump.

“We certainly can’t afford any steps backward,” she said.

David Canton, Connecticut College associate professor of history and director of Africana Studies,  introduced the crowd to George Crawford. He hailed from Tuscaloosa, Ala. and was a product of two historically black institutions, Tuskeegee Institute and Talledga College.

Crawford would go on to graduate from Yale Law School and become a founding member of the Greater New Haven Chapter of the NAACP. He served as New Haven’s first African-American corporation counsel.

In the course of the chapter’s founding, it would get a visit from a prominent member of the NAACP, James Weldon Johnson, who at the time served as field secretary and was responsible for opening new branches of the organization.

Canton said soon those interested in the history of the chapter will be able to find and expanded version on the chapter’s website.

There also was time to look forward Wednesday evening to new partnerships, particularly with Key Bank, which sponsored the silent auction.

David Cantor, business banking sales leader for Key Bank in New Haven, Hartford, and Western, Massachusetts, praised the organization for its commitment to helping communities prosper while advancing the fight for basic human rights in the region for the last 100 years.


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posted by: THREEFIFTHS on March 2, 2017  10:46am

Harp: The need is as great in 2017 as it was in 1917.

But this is not the NAACP of 1917.The NAACP of Today should be called National Association for the Advancement of Cash People. They like the other Civil rights groups are being bank roll by corporations. In fact look at how the NAACP and Urban League along with United Latin American Citizens have sold there souls out to internet neutrality.

NAACP and Urban League siding with telecom companies to KILL Net Neutraility

More than 40 civil rights groups are supporting broadband providers that oppose strict net neutrality rules. The civil rights groups say they’re siding with the Internet giants because it’s in the best interest of minority communities.
Yet critics say many of those groups are against stronger net neutrality rules because they’ve received substantial funding from Internet providers. Many of the civil rights groups currently siding with the broadband giants also supported the controversial Comcast-NBC Universal merger, came out in favor of AT&T’s failed takeover of T-Mobile in 2011, and supported broadband providers the last time the Federal Communications Commission ruled on net neutrality back in 2010.

There also was time to look forward Wednesday evening to new partnerships, particularly with Key Bank, which sponsored the silent auction.

Give me a break.They have very high overdraft fees and a poor record in communities of color.

posted by: Babz Rawls Ivy on March 2, 2017  1:11pm

These are indeed challenging times. The Greater New Haven NAACP is doing a great deal of unsung work.  People are still being discriminated against and marginalized at work, in their jobs, around the country. The NAACP has always been good at bringing community stakeholders to the table to work on these issues. Calling folks to be about the business of justice for all.

The work that the Greater New Haven NAACP often goes unrecognized and unnoticed. There is nothing sexy or glamorous about fighting for justice (Unless you are Jesse Williams)  There is nothing juicy about hearing story after story about the lives of people up against discrimination and racist hostility. Very true and real in 1917… Very true and real in 2017.

It was good to see so many people in the room still concerned and continuing to fight injustice. It is easy to sit from afar and scold, lament and Monday morning quarterback… However, Dori Dumas and The NAACP team stay on the front lines accessible and ready to take on the 2017 challenges that indeed mirror the 1917 challenges.

And that Prosecco at the entrance was a nice touch! (I had one on the way out too!)

posted by: Brian L. Jenkins on March 2, 2017  9:15pm

I wish to congratulate the New Haven Branch NAACP for 100 years of service.  However, contrary to statements like this “the work that the Greater New Haven NAACP often goes unrecognized and unnoticed.”  Conversely, the work that you don’t do goes recognized and noticed as well. 

1. The mayor killed the needle exchange program and fired its black employees. A program that serves the black community far more than any other community, and we heard nothing from the NAACP. 

2. The mayor fired Nicole Jefferson and her black staff, and replaced her with Nemerson’s crony, who has no staff, but the mayor is paying him every week nonetheless.  Now mind you, the Feds and unemployment arbitration found absolutely nothing on Nicole; and again not a word from the NAACP. 

The mayor is being challenged by a determined and well focused young man in that of Mr. Paca, so we’ll see if the NAACP will embark on a city-wide voter registration effort that they did when Ellicker opposed her.

“It is easy to sit from afar and scold, lament and Monday morning quarterback.”  Of course this person should know what she’s talking about, because she performs these same duties expertly and often for WNHH.  Bringing reality to issues ignored intentionally or unintentionally has been done since the annuls of history by the likes of Dr. King, Malcom X, Frederick Douglas and many others.  So what’s her point?  I don’t always agree with Threefifths, and doesn’t always agree with me.  But I’m feeling him on this one.

They’re acting more like the EAACP.  Entertainment Association for the Advancement of Certain People, than the NAACP.

As they prepare for their glamour event (Freedom Fund), the black community is hemorrhaging, and this mayor that the NAACP protects by by refusing to hold her accountable, are too to blame because of their silence. 

That said, it is my hope that the talented membership of the local branch will begin to address something of substance.