Brief History of the Chester Branch NAACP
The Chester Branch NAACP, one of the oldest branches of the National Association, has a rich heritage dating back to 1910. We are proud to say that this is our 97th year in existence. The founder and first president was Ruth L. Bennett. The first meeting was held at the Ruth L. Bennett Home for Women, Second and Reaney Streets, Chester, PA. Several prominent national Negro women were present, namely, Mary McCleod Bethune and Daisy Lampkins.
Former Presidents include, Ruth L. Bennett, Casper Green, Otis Jones, Carter Grasty, Rev. Leon S. Moore, Herman Laws, George Raymond, Frederick Douglas, James Graham, Cecil W. Bond, Dr. Felder Rouse, Rev. Johnnie Monroe, William Whitaker, Rev. Commodore Harris, and John Shelton, Sr.
The current President is Darrell V. Jones.
The Chester Branch invites the public to attend our General Membership meetings on the third Monday of each month at our headquarters located at 209 W. 7th Street, Chester, PA. Meetings convene at 7:30 p.m. We can be reached by telephone at (610) 872-3664 and fax (610) 872-9303.
If you have any complaints, problems or questions, please feel to call or write the Chester Branch at P.O. Box 863, Chester, PA 19016
Anyone who wishes to be a member of the Chester Branch NAACP, please call the office and leave your name, address and phone number. You may also contact the Branch President.
National NAACP History
Founded in 1909 in New York City by a group of black and white citizens committed to social justice, the National Association for Colored People (NAACP) is the nation’s largest and strongest civil rights organization.
The NAACP’s principal objective is to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of minority group citizens in the United States and eliminate race prejudice. The NAACP seeks to remove all barriers of racial discrimination through democratic processes. This mission is accomplished by seeking the enactment and enforcement of federal, state and local laws securing civil rights, and by informing the public of the adverse effects of racial discrimination.
From school desegregation, fair housing, employment, voter registration, health and equal economic opportunity, the NAACP, working with allies of all races, plays a significant role in establishing legal precedents in order to improve the equality of life for American’s downtrodden. For more than ninety five years, the NAACP built and grew on the collective courage of thousands of people. People of all races, nationalities and faiths united on one premise—that all men and women are created equal. The Association has changed America's history. Despite violence, intimidation and hostile government policies, the NAACP and its grass-roots membership persevered.
NAACP founders include Ida Wells-Barnett, W.E.B. DuBois, Harry Moscowitz, Mary White Ovington, Oswald Garrison Villiard and William English Wallig. They answered the clarion “Call” to renew the struggle for civil and political liberty in response to the unrelenting lynching of blacks that were occurring with impunity in 1909.
The NAACP is responsible for a number of victories in the struggle for justice and equality in America and continues to be at the forefront of issues paramount to our communities. Our efforts have lead to the launch of new initiatives and programs aimed at eliminating disparities in economic development, healthcare, education, technology and many other issues.
The Association is active internationally, dividing the United States and four supporting countries into seven regions. With a current active membership of more than a 300,00 million, the NAACP has over 200 college chapters, 500 youth councils and 1700 adult branches with overseas branches in Germany, Italy, Korea and Japan.
Dennis C. Hayes serves as the organization’s Interim President/Chief Executive Officer. Julian Bond is the Chairman of the National Board of Directors.
NAACP Pennsylvania State Conference History
History of the Pennsylvania State Conference
Established in 1934
The Pennsylvania State Conference for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has been in existence for over 70 years. Before outlining its history it may be well to briefly review some of the events and incidents leading to its formation.
The Parent organization, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was founded in 1909 as a national, bi-racial organization to help eliminate social injustices. In 1911, the NAACP was incorporated as a nonprofit membership organization supported by its members and other organizations. The basic purpose of the NAACP is to fight racial discrimination by assisting in legal cases, and by affirming legal action in establishing the principle of law.
The NAACP is engaged in improving the political, educational, social and economic status of minority groups, eliminating racial prejudices; keeping the public aware of the adverse effects of racial discrimination; and taking all lawful actins to eliminate such discrimination.
The Pennsylvania State Conference of NAACP Branches supports these goals and objectives of the national office and also coordinates the supporting efforts of local branches through out the State.
The initial beginning of the Pennsylvania State Conference of NAACP Branches was in a residence on Juniata Street in Holidaysburg, Blair County, Pennsylvania. This was the residence of Dr. George A. Walker and his wife Agnes. There were nine people in the initial meeting. Among this group was Mrs. Daisy Lampkin of Pittsburgh, who was the NAACP Field Director, member of the NAACP National Board and Vice President of the Pittsburgh courier Newspaper. Others present were Dr. and Mrs. George A. Walker, Mrs. Sophie B. Nelson, a school teacher and civil rights work from Pittsburgh, Charles R. Brown, a postal worker from Holidaysburg, John G. Jones of Pittsburgh, Dr. James A. Gillespie and John B. Campbell both of New Castle.
Mr. Lampkin was a key person at this meeting. She outlined the duties and responsibilities of the State Conference, explained organizational procedures and made suggestions about how the State Conference could assist the National Office in achieving the objectives of the Association.
After the meeting Mrs. Walker served dinner to all nine of the attendees. Before leaving, the group formed a circle, joined hands and sang “God Be With You Till We Meet Again." For many years, following this meeting, this song was sung at the close of each convention along with holding hands and repeating the “Watch Word” “May the Lord watch between me and you while we are absent one from another.”
Since its inception, 16 persons have served as President of the State Conference. The first was Mrs. Sophia B. Nelson of Pittsburgh and the continuing list is as follows:
Dr. James A. Gillespie - Holidaysburg
Dr. George A. Walker - Pittsburgh
Charles A. Brown - Holidaysburg
Dr. Harry Green - Philadelphia
Joshua O. Thompson - Ambler
Dr. Burrell R. Johnson - Johnstown
Attorney Henry R. Smith - Pittsburgh
Louis E. Waller - Washington
Dr. Fred L. Vaughns - Uniontown
Dr. Charles H. Butler - Coatesville
*Thomas A. Smith, Jr. - Johnstown
Richard P. Burton, Sr. - Allentown
Charles T. Stokes - Pittsburgh
John Shelton, Sr. - Chester
Atty. Burrell A. Brown - Clairton
*Thomas A. Smith Jr. - Bethlehem
*Elected twice to serve as President of the State Conference.
Among the early objectives of the organization were to support the National Office in its efforts to end injustice and bigotry throughout the nation, secure voting rights for all citizens and put an end to mob violence and lynching. On the state level emphasis was placed on organizing new local branches, securing fair housing and fair employment, practice legislation, and banish the twin evils of segregation and discrimination. These goals have been constant through out the life of the organization. However, the agenda has always been flexible and its activities geared to urgent needs and the changing fortunes of time.