In a recent letter to supporters of the NAACP, Cornell Williams Brook, the current CEO and president, spoke about this recent address at the 105th Annual NAACP Convention.  Brooks said the main questions he’s always asked is if the organization is still relevant.

Here’s an excerpt from his letter:

Critics of the NAACP have found an interesting way of welcoming me as the new president of this most prestigious civil rights organization.

They ask the question, “Is the NAACP still relevant?” I’m sure they hope I will find the question worrisome. I do not. I find it wearisome.

During my address to the 105th Annual NAACP Convention on Monday, I spoke about why I find it so wearisome. It’s because the answer is so obvious: “Are they serious?”

My incredible mother marched for the right to vote in the late fifties and sixties. Her father fought for the right before her. Today, a little less able-bodied, she must use her walker to go around the house and search for the proper ID needed to vote because jurists gutted the Voting Rights Act.

And some wonder if the NAACP is still relevant.

My oldest son is the same age Trayvon Martin was, and my youngest is the same age Emmett Till was. Our children ask us to explain the morally befuddling verdict in the George Zimmerman trial. They ask how a young man on the streets of New York can be forced to the ground and choked to death.

And some wonder if the NAACP is still relevant.

On Sunday, six hundred incredible young people participated in the NAACP ACT-SO competition. They are brilliant children—budding orators, scientists, artists, and entrepreneurs. Too many of them face unfathomable challenges while trying to get a quality education, disserved and abandoned by the public schools in their hometowns.

And some wonder if the NAACP is still relevant.

This is no ordinary time in our nation’s history, and progress requires extraordinary effort and activity. If you are a son or a daughter, a parent or a grandparent, a mentor or a role model; if you are a student or a member of the workforce, the NAACP and the issues we fight for are VERY relevant to you, and we need your help. We need the help of your family and friends. We need a multi-generational NAACP, a multiethnic NAACP, a million-member NAACP, working together to build a better future for all. 

Listen, it won’t always be easy. But if Julian Bond did it then, we can do it now. If Daisy Bates did it then, we can do it now. If Rosa Parks did it then, we can do it now. We will stand for our youth, for our elderly, for our collective future. We will go all in for justice and equality.

Ok, we get it.

Some think may think, and probably rightfully so, that the organization hasn’t been at the forefront of anything of relevance in quite some time. But is making it multi-ethnic the answer?

Brooks seems to forget that the “CP” of  NAACP, means “colored people” which is what black people were called when the organization was formed. Although there are “multi-ethnic” colored people, where does one draw the line?


Clutchettes, what do you think about the NAACP being multi-ethnic?

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  • Rosie Perez

    It seems to me that he wants to create a more inclusive atmosphere in order to keep relevancy. Kind of like financially struggling HBCUs marketing towards non-Blacks to help keep their doors open.

  • D1Mind

    I say good riddance. They haven’t done anything for ‘colored’ folks anyway so they may as well stop pretending.

    And for the record, the organization was not founded by black folks anyway.
    The leadership of the organization and the executive board was primarily non black, with the only black member being W.E.B. Dubois in 1911.

  • smiles

    The NAACP was created and founded by Mary White Ovington (white social worker), journalist William English Walling (white), Henry Moskowitz (white, real estate mogul and Associate Leader of the New York Society for Ethical Culture), Oswald Garrison Villard (white journalist), William English Walling (white, labor reformer and socialist republican), Florence Kelly (white social and political reformer), Charles Edward Russell (white journalist), Joel Spingarn (white, literature professor) along with W.E.B. DuBoise, Ida B. Wells, Archibald Grimke and others.
    The first president was Moorfield Storey, a white constitutional lawyer and former president of the American Bar Association.
    Kivie Kaplan (Jewish and a constitutional lawyer and philanthropist) served as President from 1966 until 1975)