Image from the NAACP Civic Engagement Website
Founded in 1909 in response to the ongoing violence against black Americans, the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) is the nation’s largest non-partisan civil rights organization, with dozens of chapters across Texas.
(One of the NAACP founders was Chicago journalist Ida B. Wells, who was also a leader in the national suffrage movement. Another was Mary White Ovington, a white ally and sister suffragist and journalist, who lived in New York. )
As of this writing (2020), the NAACP has 2,200 units and branches across the nation. The organization’s mission is to “secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons.”
The NAACP has a long and storied history of waging legal battles to fight discrimination, such as the landmark Smith v. Allwright decision, initiated by the Houston NAACP, that ended the practice of “whites only” primary elections in Texas and across the U.S. Read more about important NAACP legal cases related to voting rights and other issues.
The NAACP Civic Engagement Project
(As of 2020): The NAACP Civic Engagement Project seeks to increase black voter turnout by engaging community volunteers to mobilize “infrequent” voters, via calls and texts, by encouraging them to participate in the upcoming election.
The Civic Engagement program provides volunteers with talking points, call center referral information, and other tools that volunteers can use to conduct self-scheduled voter outreach, working independently or in collaboration with other volunteers.
The Civic Engagement initiative was originally launched in 2018, with the goal of engaging low and moderate-propensity voters in advance of the 2018 midterm elections.
As of 2020, the initiative is part of the organization’s “Black Voices Change Lives” campaign, which emphasizes engagement between high-propensity and infrequent voters and digital/virtual resources for voter engagement. The campaign is part of the NAACP’s long history of voter mobilization/education that stresses the importance of voting in all elections, not just presidential or gubernatorial races. Volunteers of all backgrounds and ethnicities are welcome to participate.
Additional Learning: NAACP Civic Engagement Program