The civil rights movement in the United States has been a long, primarily nonviolent struggle to bring full civil rights and equality under the law to all Americans. It has been made up of many movements, though it is often used to refer to the struggles between 1945 and 1970 to end discrimination against African-Americans and to end racial segregation, especially in the U.S. South. It focuses on that particular struggle, rather than the comparable movements to end discrimination against other ethnic groups within the United States or those struggles, such as the women's liberation, gay liberation, and disabled rights movements, that have used similar tactics in pursuit of similar goals. The civil rights movement has had a lasting impact on United States society, both in its tactics and in increased social and legal acceptance of civil rights. One of the most important organizations of this era was the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People). NAACP is an organization composed mainly of American blacks, but with many white members, whose goal is the end of racial discrimination and segregation.
The association was formed as the direct result of the lynching (1908) of two blacks in Springfield, Ill. The incident produced a wide response by white Northerners to a call by Mary W. Ovington, a white woman, for a conference to discuss ways of achieving political and social equality for blacks. This conference led to the formation (1910) of the NAACP, headed by eight prominent Americans, seven white and one, William E. B. Du Bois, black (wikipedia 1). The selection of Du Bois was significant, for he was a black who had rejected the policy of gradualism advocated by Booker T. Washington and demanded immediate equality for blacks. From 1910 to 1934 Du Bois was the editor of the association's periodical The Crisis, which reported on race relations around the world. The new organization grew so rapidly that by 1915 it was able to organize a partially successful boycott of the motion picture The Birth of a Nation, which portrayed blacks of the Reconstruction era in a distorted light( Spartacus 2).
Most of the NAACP's early efforts were directed against lynching. In this area it could claim considerable success. In 1911 there were 71 lynchings in the United States, with a black person the victim 63 times; by the 1950s lynching had virtually disappeared. Since its beginning, and with increasing emphasis since World War II, the NAACP has advocated nonviolent protests against discrimination and has disapproved of extremist black groups such as SNCC and the Black Panthers in the 1960s and 70s and CORE and the Nation of Islam in the 1980s and 90s, many of which criticized the organization as passive. While complacent in the 1980s, it became more active in legislative redistricting, voter registration, and lobbying in the 1990s (NAACP 1).
The NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, an independent legal aid group, argues in court on...