NAACP Regaining Relevance Through Diversity

July 23, 2011  |  

(AP) — Jobs, education, health, housing — the issues driving the NAACP these days look much like the concerns of most Americans, and that’s by design.  As the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People kicks off its 102nd convention this weekend in downtown Los Angeles, the venerable civil rights organization’s policy agenda shows how it has evolved from its decades-long role as a leading fighter against racial inequality to become a staunch advocate for social justice for all minorities.  “They’re doing a much better job by being seen as lobbying for poor, disenfranchised people of all colors,” said Peniel E. Joseph, a Tufts University history professor and author of a book on the civil rights and black power movements.  The strategy has enabled the NAACP to bounce back after a decade in which many charged that the organization had lost its way, becoming irrelevant.  In the 1950s and 1960s, the NAACP was a standard-bearer of the struggle for voting rights, desegregated schools, and equal access to everything from water fountains to bus seats. But by four decades later — with a black president in the White House — the NAACP’s prominence had trickled to a place in history books.

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