The National Association of the Advancement of Colored People was founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. From the ballot box to the classroom, the thousands of dedicated workers, organizers, leaders and members who make up the NAACP continue to fight for social justice for all Americans.
Black women played a lead role in founding and running Delaware’s first branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People–the NAACP–in Wilmington in 1912. Edwina Kruse and Alice Baldwin were among the founders. Elizabeth Williams America, a hairdresser, served as the branch’s first president. Alice Dunbar-Nelson served as the group’s secretary for many years. She was succeeded by Alice Baldwin who took on that task for at least a decade. In its first 20 years, the NAACP took on many causes, winning some and losing others.
In the 1950’s in Delaware the Wilmington Branch of the NAACP often led the effort. There were also strong NAACP branches in Milford and Dover, and a growing unit in Sussex County. During much of this work, a woman, Pauline Young, was the state president of NAACP branches in Delaware. She was a popular and beloved leader who had given much of her life to the study of African American history. Miss Young had started the library at Howard High School in the 1930s and served as the school’s first librarian. In 1947, she wrote the first study of black history in Delaware, “The Negro in Delaware, Past and Present,” which was published in the book Delaware: A History of the First State by Henry Clay Reed. Pauline Young had grown up with the Wilmington NAACP. Young’s aunt, Alice Dunbar-Nelson, had been a founder of the Wilmington branch and one of its first secretaries. Pauline Young had taken the job of secretary in 1930 and had continued to serve the branch for many years.
In 1961 Littleton Mitchell, who became a member of the NAACP at the age of 13, held the position of President of the Delaware State Branch for over (30) years, until 1991 when he retired. As President, he guided the NAACP in making changes in employment , housing, access to public accommodations and most notably in education.
Today, under the leadership of C. Linwood Jackson, the Delaware NAACP is once again launching an all out effort to make changes in the First State. He is bringing together a formidable round table of individuals throughout the state of Delaware. These leaders have agreed to take the necessary steps to strengthen the units, reduce discrimination and strengthen the people of this state who have for so long been discouraged.