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The Migration From Lynching to Opportunity: Analytical Essay on NAACP

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The Fight Towards True Freedom

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People also known as the NAACP was founded on February 12, 1909. The main cause of the creation of this group was a riot in the city of Springfield. The Springfield riots were the mistreatment and severe assaulting of African Americans by the white community. Another cause of the foundation of the organization was the ending of the Niagara Movement. This was a movement led by W.E.B Du Bios shared many of the same values as the organization. There were a few non- African Americans who saw theses acts of violence as wrong and unfair. Mary White Ovington, Oswald Garrison Villard, William English Walling, and Dr. Henry Moscowitz all saw these actions and called for a meeting to discuss the injustice. The NAACP aimed to get equality for all people and secure the rights of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments. They also wanted to ensure rights for minority groups politically, socially, and economically. By 1910, the NAACP established their own office in New York City. The group began to grow bigger with greater support for equality. By 1913, they established offices in cities such as, Boston, Baltimore, Kansas City, St, Louis, Washington, and Detroit. W.E.B Du Bios became the only African American on the board and became a crucial part in the organization. He used his work as an editor to emphasize the need to end lynching’s and violence against African Americans. Another key leader in the NAACP was Walter Francis White who was an African American civil rights activist and used his African American heritage to advocate for people of color. He said,” I am a negro. My skin is white, my eyes are blue, my hair is blonde. The traits of my race are nowhere visible upon me…. I am not white. There is nothing within my mind and heart which tempts me to think I am.” He used his life to help brig justice and equality for all people. Due to great leadership and work by 1920, the impact of the NAACP was greatly successful. There were many successful court victories to help with the grandfather clause and segregation. The NAACP is the longest and oldest civil rights organization in the United States.

There was No Escape!

On March 25, 1911 the lives of 145 workers were lost forever. The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire in New York City is one of the worst industrial incidents in United States history and the worst part is the deaths were all preventable. The factory was located in the top three floors of the Asch building and had very poor work conditions. The company employed young immigrant women who worked on sewing machines. Most did not speak English and worked twelve hours a day. The environment was truly a sweat shop and poor safety features. In 1911, the building only had one working elevator out of four. There was only two set of stairs, one was locked and the other could only open inward. The fire escape was also not an option because it would take too long to get down. These horrible safety factors were not surprising to most because the factory owners, Max Blanck and Isaac Harris, were already seen as suspicious. The factory was already scorched twice, and their other company factory was burned twice. Some suspected that the owners burned the factories to collect on large fire insurance policies they purchased. On the day of the incident there were approximately six hundred workers in the factory when the fire broke out. Once the fire began, the manger tired to put out the fire, but the fire hose was old and rotted. The young women were rushed into the elevator but only four groups of twelve women were able to make it down. Some plunged down the shaft or were burned alive by taking the stairs only to realize that the door was locked at the bottom. Others jumped from the windows to their death. An eyewitness, William Shepherd who was a reporter at the scene retells his story. He says” I saw every feature of the tragedy visible from outside the building. I learned a new sound—a more horrible sound than description can picture. It was the thud of a speeding, living body on a stone sidewalk.”. The fire was over within eighteen minutes and 145 workers lost their lives. With the loss of so many lives, the fire brought attention to horrible factory conditions and led to multiple regulations that protect workers. By April 5, over 80,000 people attended a protest to fix the conditions that led to the fire. The fire caused a multiple of labor reforms to set in motion to effectively create change in the industry and especially to improve safety conditions of the factory. The owners of the Triangle Shirtwaist factory were indicted by a grand jury two weeks after the fire. They were sentenced on charges of manslaughter.

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A Long River To End Discrimination

The Niagara Movement was founded in 1905. W.E.B Du Bios and others met secretly in Fort Erie, Ontario, near Niagara Falls to create an organization to create change for African Americans politically and socially. They had to meet on the Canadian side because the American side would not allow them to stay at a hotel. They demanded the end to segregation and discrimination in unions, public accommodations, and the courts. The name Niagara Movement was chosen specifically because they wanted to create the affect of a mighty current like the Falls. Other meetings were held at Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia, and Boston’s Faneuil Hall annually. The start of the organization is credited to The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B Du Bios. This book somewhat attacked Booker T. Washington views and how they shifted from fighting for change to accepting the current conditions. There were few successes at the local level. Overall, the movement lacked funds, mass support, permanent headquarters, and had weak organizational support. In the end, the movement had no difference in legislation, but it did lead to the creation of the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The NAACP was an organization that helped crate change for African Americans in all aspects. It was different form the Niagara movement because it gained mass support after the Springfield riots. It also caught the attention of like-minded whites. With the help of white progressives like, Jane Addams, William Dean Howells, Oswald Garrison Villard, and William Lloyd Garrison the beliefs and motives of the Niagara movement were transferred to the NAACP. The Niagara movement was separated in 1910 and W.E.B Du Bios was making efforts to try to connect the two organizations. Mary White Ovington who witnessed multiple meetings covered the Niagara Falls meeting. Later she wrote,” I doubt if a more resolute, intelligent set of men and women were assembling anywhere that summer, filled the as summers are with various national conventions.” Her relationship with W.E.B Du Bios was very significant because they helped lead the movement and later on help found the of alcohol. We have a huge force of support behind us and with your help we will get an amendment passed. Anyone, man or woman, rich or poor. Help us, help you by joining us in the fight for prohibition. Save your kids and your life by saying no to alcohol.

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