How and Why Were the Naacp and the National Urban League More Than Civil Rights Organisations? Consider the Period Up to 1930.

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How and why were the NAACP and the National Urban League more than civil rights organisations? Consider the period up to 1930.

The National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People and National Urban League, founded in 1909 and 1910 respectively, were established to serve the growing needs and pressing concerns of African-Americans at the time. The issues were basically of integration and equality. The period of Reconstruction had seen constitutional reform but proper interpretation and implementation was still unrealized. By the late 1800s the southern states were again led by white supremacist interests and segregation was comprehensive and legal: the Jim Crow system.

The NAACP investigated and exposed legal infringements, drawing attention to legal injustice and to the dire state of race relations. The NAACP was committed to fighting these injustices and gaining ground with regard to civil rights through the courts. Progress was slow during this period. There were a few successes such as Supreme Court decisions against the grandfather clause (1915) and restrictive covenants (1917) which affected voting but the more notable successes came later. The NUL was established in response to the mass movement of blacks in the ‘Great Migration' or ‘Black Migration' as it would be called, that took place circa 1916-1930. African Americans were moving in large numbers from the rural south to the urban north where they encountered unfamiliar circumstances. The NUL sought to help these migrants adapt to the new conditions. The also wanted to improve the urban situation, the housing, sanitation and health situations and employment and recreational opportunities. Another important factor was the repression that culminated in the ‘Red Summer' of 1919. Race riots, twenty six that year, lynching of African American soldiers returning from Europe, unions threatened by the perceived threat of migrating blacks and the Klu Klux Klan. Both organisations...
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