KSU-NAACP reflects on group’s beginnings

Jessica Cole

Members gather for Founders Day to remember history

In 1908, race riots sparked the founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and last night its Kent State chapter came together to celebrate the beginning.

Most people think of the NAACP as a black organization, Pan-African studies professor George Garrison said, but they don’t realize four of the seven founding members were white.

“As the founders began this organization as a multiracial group, it continues as a multiracial group,” Garrison, who is the group’s adviser, said.

The students agreed with Garrison as they discussed a recent controversy at Georgetown University in which the NAACP president got attention for being white.

“NAACP is an organization that everyone is a part of,” membership chair Daniel Calloway said. “We don’t discriminate.”

The NAACP was founded on February 12, 1909 by William Edward DuBois, Ida Bell Wells-Barnett, Henry Moscowitz, Mary White Ovington, Oswald Garrison Villard, William English Walling and Archibald Grimke.

The Kent State NAACP’s Founders Day celebration was originally scheduled to happen on Feb. 12 but was postponed because of weather conditions.

Balloons were strewn across the floor, and fresh vegetables along with meatballs sat ready to be eaten in the back of the room as the Kent State NAACP board members awaited the arrival of their guests.

Seven board members and nine non-board members joined together last night in celebration of the founding of NAACP.

Though freezing rain and a basketball game prevented the turnout from being larger, the members of NAACP felt their program was successful.

“I thought it was phenomenal. I thought it was educational. I thought it served its purpose and was everything an anniversary should be,” said Quiera Lige, sophomore psychology and justice studies major.

Each board member presented information about one of the founding members of the NAACP to begin the program.

Following the board members’ presentation, Garrison spoke about the history of the NAACP and past presidents of the Kent State chapter. He talked about everything the organization has accomplished since it was started in Kent around 1987, including the current renovation of Oscar Ritchie Hall.

After Garrison was done speaking, the group played a trivia game and ended the night by awarding Garrison with a plaque made of glass to thank him for his dedication.

“When we thought of the event we wanted to take the time to acknowledge him because a lot of his work goes unnoticed,” President Brittnei Neely said.

Contact ethnic affairs reporter Jessica Cole at [email protected].