HONORING THE NAACP ON ITS 100TH ANNIVERSARY

February 10, 2009
Floor Statements

February 10, 2009

Mr. SCOTT of Virginia: Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to recognize the NAACP on its 100th anniversary. The NAACP holds a very special meaning to me because I have been a long-time active member of the group. I have had the honor of being Virginia's first individual Golden Heritage Life Member and Virginia's first Diamond Life Member, the organization's highest individual membership level. In addition, I have had the honor of serving as president of the Newport News, Virginia branch of the NAACP.

The NAACP is an organization that has made a difference from the very beginning. In 1909, 60 prominent Americans, including Ida B. Wells-Barnett and W.E.B. Du Bois, met on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln to discuss racial violence and social justice. Out of that meeting, the NAACP was born with the goal of securing rights, liberties and protections for all Americans as guaranteed by the Constitution.

Since its inception, the NAACP has worked tirelessly to continuing looking for ways to improve the democratic process and by seeking the enactment and the enforcement of Federal, State and local laws that secure civil rights. The NAACP furthers its mission by making the public aware of adverse effects of racial discrimination and by seeking its elimination. The NAACP also seeks to educate the public about their constitutional rights, and it goes to court to enforce those rights when necessary.

The NAACP has a long and impressive history of activism. It has contributed greatly to shaping America as we know it today. One of its first legislative initiatives was anti-lynching legislation in the early 1990s. In the 1940s, the NAACP was influential in President Roosevelt's decision to issue an executive order prohibiting discrimination in contracts with the Department of Defense. The NAACP was very instrumental in President Truman's decision to issue an executive order ending all discrimination in the military. In 1946, the NAACP won the Morgan v. Virginia case where the Supreme Court banned States from having segregated facilities on buses and trains that crossed State borders. In 1948, the NAACP pressured President Truman into signing an executive order banning all discrimination in the Armed Forces. In 1954, the NAACP won its landmark case of Brown v. Board of Education, declaring separate but equal unconstitutional.

The NAACP is what the late Bishop Stephen Gill Spotswood, the former national board chairman, has called ``the oldest, largest, most effective, most consulted, most militant, most feared, and most loved of all civil rights organizations in the world.'' Bishop Spotswood's statement remains true today.

Even in the 21st century, the NAACP continues to be a strong advocate for fairness and equality. Recently, the NAACP was deeply involved in protesting the Jena 6 controversy where the efforts of the NAACP and others provided justice for the students in

[Page: H1115] GPO's PDF that case. The NAACP continues their work on eliminating racial injustice. It continues to act as a watchdog to protect the civil rights of all people, and it educates the public about civil rights so that future generations will know that tolerance and equality are the norm rather than the exception.

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the NAACP and its people on 100 years of service to our great country, and I wish them another successful century of service.