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How is the NAACP organized? 

With a membership of over 500,000, the NAACP is primarily a volunteer organization whose strength derives from its deep roots in local communities. It is the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights organization. There are some 2,200 adult branches, plus an additional 191 college chapters and 233 Youth Councils. These are located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Korea. 

A board of Directors sets the basic policy of the NAACP, which is implemented by the President and Chief Executive Officer. The core staff is based in the NAACP Headquarters in Baltimore, MD. There is also a development office New York City, as well as a Washington Bureau in Washington, DC, and seven regional offices.

What Does the NAACP do? 

The primary focus of the NAACP continues to be the protection and enhancement of the civil rights of black Americans. The NAACP was instrumental in securing the passage of all civil rights legislation in this century, and remains committed to its full implementation. 

It does this by utilizing the legislative and judicial processes to insure equity and fairness in such areas as housing, employment, voting, political representation, education, administration of justice, health, etc. 

On both the local and national levels, the NAACP serves as the nation’s most forceful and effective advocate for the rights and interests of black Americans. It continually addresses those issues of concern to the black community, making certain its voice is heard and responded to.

Does the NAACP do other things as well? 

While civil rights remain a major focus, the NAACP is involved in a wide spectrum of initiatives directed toward the strengthening of the economic, cultural, social and family bases of the black community. 

This is accomplished not only through vigorous advocacy and the constant monitoring of government programs and policies, as well as the performances of the nonprofit and private sectors, but also through NAACP sponsored programs. 

A number of these are local in origin, based on prevailing conditions. Thus, one branch may sponsor tutorial programs for students, while another supports programs aimed at preventing teenage pregnancy. 

The NAACP also conducts several national programs which are implemented at the local level by the branches. These include Back-to-School/Stay-in-School-targeted to prevent dropouts and encourage young people who have dropped out of school to return; Voter Education and Registration-to encourage greater voter participation and increase black political representation at governmental levels. 

The Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO)-which promotes educational excellence among high school students; Education-job readiness programs, SAT preparation classes, and preparation classes for teacher competency tests; Prison Program-aids in the rehabilitation process of incarcerated men and women by channeling their energies and talents into constructive pursuits.

What about programs for the economic well being of the black community? 

The NAACP has a full-time Economic Development Department addressing this concern. One of its most successful activities has been the Fair Share Program. Through this program, over 50 major corporations have entered into voluntary agreement with the NAACP covering such areas as employment, promotion, use of minority vendors and suppliers, deposits in black banks, etc. The agreement produces over half a billion dollars annually in additional revenue to the black community.

Are there programs specifically aimed at young people? 

The NAACP has one of the largest organized groups of young people of any secular organization in the country. Some 67,000 are involved with the NAACP through its Youth Councils and college chapters, operating under the Youth and College Division. 

Its objectives are to inspire, motivate, and create interest in civic activities; provide young people with an understanding of issues pertinent to social conditions; develop organizational skills for implementation of community related activities; and encourage active participation in these activities.

Is the NAACP still needed? 

Yes. Much of the progress blacks have achieved over the past century is directly attributable to the NAACP. Long before such causes became popular, it led the fight to stop lynchings, to secure the right to vote for all Americans, to end segregation and discrimination, and to insure equal justice for all. 

The answer to the question appearing above can be found by looking at your television news programs or reading the papers, or perhaps through personal experience. 

The struggle for equality and freedom has not been won. Try imagining what life would be like for black Americans without the NAACP to fight the battles.