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National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

(Lack of space prevents the publication here of the Seventh Annual Report in full. It will be mailed upon request.)

The annual meeting of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was held in New York City on January 2. The business session was held in the afternoon in the United Charities Building. Sixty members were present, including delegates from the Branches at Boston, Washington, Baltimore, Toledo, Orange, N. J., Montclair, N. J., Newark, N. J., Wilmington, Del., Philadelphia, Gary, Ind., Providence, R. I., and New York. 

Dr. J. E. Spingarn, chairman of the Board of Directors, in making his annual report, said that by far the most striking achievement of the N. A. A. C. P. during 1916 has been to inject lynching into the public mind as a national problem. It has been forced upon the national consciousness even in the midst of the world-war, Mexico, and a presidential election.

Among the investigations made have been that of the Cherokee fires by the secretary; the lynching of Jesse Washington at Waco, Texas; the lynching of two women and three men at Gainesville, Fla.; and the lynching of Anthony Crawford at Abbeville, S. C.  Accounts of all these investigations have been published in the CRISIS. 

Sometime before the Waco lynching occurred, Mr. Phillip G. Peabody, of Boston, had proposed that a fund of $10,000 be devoted to an anti-lynching crusade, and he offered to open the subscription with $1000 if the other $9000 could be raised within a period of two months. Mr. Moorfield Storey, President of the Association, at the same time subscribed the second $1000.

To take advantage of these offers, 50,000 copies of the "Waco Horror" were published and distributed as a campaign document together with an appeal for funds. The branches cooperated with splendid enthusiasm. A total of $11,269.71 was raised at a cost of $1,203.73, thus establishing a fund of a trifle over $10,000 net, cash in bank. It is particularly noteworthy that both races contributed in about equal measure. 

In the midst of this campaign the Gainesville lynching occurred. Although the story of this lynching did not receive the publicity that Waco did, two important achievements grew out of it: Ex-Governor Carter, of Hawaii, upon reading the story in the CRISIS, sent in ten dollars and announced that he would continue to send that amount for every lynching which we reported in the same fair manner; and the editors of the New Republic were moved to write the splendid editorial on "The Will to Lynch," which served to call national attention to our campaign. To round up the anti-lynching campaign for 1916, the national office, on December 27, presented a loving cup to Sheriff Eley, of Lima, Ohio, "for devotion to duty, in preventing the lynching of the colored prisoner and resisting the mob at the risk of his life."

The year opened with the wave of segregation still sweeping the country, with St. Louis in the center of the struggle. The St. Louis Branch led the fight against it there. The city decided in favor of segregation. Our field agent who had been assisting the branch in St. Louis immediately for Dallas, Texas, to organize the opposition to a similar measure; but Dallas followed the lead of St. Louis, Louisville, and Baltimore. The fight was lost so far as it lies within the power of cities to pass such legislation. We base our expectation of winning the fight on Constitutional grounds.

For testing the validity of all these statutes, the Louisville Segregation Case was argued before the United States Supreme Court, Moorfield Storey of Boston and Blakey, Quin & Lewis of Louisville, representing the N. A. A. C. P. The court disagreed and have ordered a reargument before the full bench . We count it a victory and the fight against segregation a distinct achievement.

A trained newspaper man was hired to watch both houses of Congress and to report all hostile legislation immediately to national headquarters and to the president of the District of Columbia Branch. This year's crop included five anti-intermarriage bills and three Jim Crow bills for the District of Columbia, as well as a bill making it unlawful to appoint colored men commissioned or non-commissioned officers in the army or navy, and a resolution calling upon 

N. A. A. C. P.

the Attorney General to force the Supreme Court to pass upon the validity of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments. The Washington Branch secured a public hearing and no one of these measures passed Congress during 1916.

The Association has long felt that our best hope of obtaining decent elementary education for the Negro in the rural South lies in obtaining Federal aid and in seeing that colored children receive their just proportion. It has been deemed wiser to organize a separate body to push this legislation in Congress, as southern support is absolutely necessary; and so we have aided in the formation of a Committee on National Aid to Education, to be formally launched in New York during the month of January.

This year questionnaires were again sent out from national headquarters to Congressional nominees endeavoring to put each candidate on record as to his stand on the Negro problem. The results were published in the CRISIS. A determined attempt was made to inject the issue of lynching into the Presidential campaign, by the circulation of 100,000 circulars graphically portraying the horror. 

The awarding of the Spingarn Medal annually calls attention to the achievements and talents of the colored race. In 1916, besides the award of the Spingarn medal to Major Charles Young, a $200 scholarship was granted through the Pittsburgh Branch to one of its members as a reward to the branch for turning in the greatest number of new members. 

The appointment of Mr. James Weldon Johnson as Field Secretary and Organizer meets one of the greatest needs of the Association, a field captain to rally the cohorts. 

An especially valuable development, because it arose at the suggestion of one of the branches (Cleveland) out of its own needs, was the District Conference. The Great Lakes District held its first meeting on Decoration Day, and since that time all the branches of the Association have been grouped into nine districts as follows: Yankee District, Chesapeake District, Great Lakes District, Ohio Valley District, Prairie District, St. Louis District, District of the Plains, Southern District, Pacific District.

A third guarantee of a stronger organization hereafter is The Bulletin, devoted entirely to Branch news. 

During the year five groups have been admitted as locals, two locals have been given charters as branches, and a New York Branch has been formed. New members to the number of 2,253 have been taken in during the year; 30,063 pieces of first class mail, 6,094 packages, and 199,690 pieces of literature have been sent from national headquarters. 

Treasurer's Report
of the

January 1 to December 31, 1916

Cash Balance December 31, 1915--

General Fund ............... $ 1,430.18
Maclean Memorial Fund....    273.35
Federal Aid to Education Fund ...................   195.63
$ 1,899.16

INCOME January 1 to December 31, 1916

Contributions ............... $ 6,291.49
Memberships ...............     4,817.02
Literature sold ..............     22.83
Pins sold ...................      22.87

Subscriptions and sales of Branch Bulletin .......... 3.25
Total receipts of the General Fund ............ $11,157.46

Special Funds

Maclean Memorial Fund--interest .................. $     11.02
Anti-Segregation Fund--contributions from Branches ..   761.36
Anti-Lynching Fund ........ 11,539.64
Federal Aid to Education Fund ..................  50.00
Jim Crow Fund ..............  2.00

Total receipts of the Special Funds ............ $12,364.02
Total amount raised by N. A. A. C. P. from January 1 to December 31, 1916........... $23,521.48 
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