CHICAGO WESTSIDE BRANCH NAACP HISTORY
On August 14, 1908, there was the Springfield, Illinois Race Riot as two black men were jailed accused of unrelated sexual assault and murder crimes against whites. A crowd gathered for vigilante justice. After the crowd found out that the prisoners had been moved to another jail for safety an angry mob erupted in violence destroying everything in sight. The national guard was called in to control the situation and the nation was shocked by the racial riots in the hometown of President Abraham Lincoln.
The NAACP or National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was established in 1909 and is America’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. It was formed in New York City by white and Black activists, partially in response to the ongoing violence against African Americans around the country. In the NAACP’s early decades, its anti-lynching campaign was central to its agenda. During the civil rights era in the 1950s and 1960s, the group won major legal victories, and today the NAACP has more than 2,200 branches and some half a million members worldwide.
The Chicago Westside Branch NAACP was chartered in September 1966 by a group of concerned individuals led by two outstanding women Nola Bright and Mattie K. Moore. They led the community in establishing the branch on the west side of Chicago. They wanted to take an active role in the national movement to fight against racial discrimination and for equality in civil rights. The struggle will continue until all men, women, and children are able to experience equality in all walks of life.
The Chicago Westside Branch NAACP has a rich history in the fight for equality thru various methods. Listed below is a partial history of our accomplishments and activities.
Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO): Workshops are given to prepare students for the annual competition. Funding is provided to take the winner of the local competition to the national. The branch engaged in those activities and events that will equalize the playing field for our youth.
- Co-sponsored educational seminar with Congressman Danny Davis entitled “Paying for College.”
- Hosted “Yes, You Can Win” Assembly at Austin High
- Provided financial support for peer tutors at Austin High School for the semester along with T-shirts, headbands, banners, and daily refreshments for participants.
- Provided transportation for government day in Springfield, Illinois for Westside
- Annual “Back to School/Stay in School Rally” providing 3,000 backpacks with school supplies to students as an incentive with motivational speakers encouraging youth to go back to school and stay in school.
- Took a busload of individuals to Springfield, Illinois for Voter Mobilization to support “Equity in School ”
- Sponsored forum on “Equity in School ”
- Monitored schools in concert with the national NAACP’s Education Plan for
- Participated at the National Alliance of Black School Educators
- Participated in an Anti-violence rally sponsored by the Westside Baptist Ministers’
- Awarded students with “Nola Bright ”
- Held “Know Your Rights “seminars for
- Sponsored the “Ambassadors’ Green Initiative Program that teaches youth about recycling and helps them to develop strategies for anti-violence
- Hosted town hall meetings against school closings and for an elected school
The Health Committee engaged in activities that advocate for better health care and ending racial disparities. We want to create an inclusive culture of healthy people and have participated in the following:
- Making certain that individuals have resources that provide access to proper screening for prostate cancer, HIV/Aids, hypertension, cholesterol, diabetes, masks, hand sanitizers, Covid 19 updates, etc.
- Co-sponsored HIV/Aids Awareness event with Loretto Hospital
- Working to eliminate the disparities between the health care delivery system for whites and minorities
- Distributed masks and gloves to community residents
The Housing Committee has kept the community informed of the various instruments that are available to individuals who may be facing foreclosure on their properties.
- The committee has educated over one thousand individuals in financial literacy and home ownership
- Sponsored WOW Initiative (With Ownership, Wealth) a program developed by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.
- Participated in the annual 7th Congressional State of the District Town Hall Meeting with Congressman Danny K. Davis
- Sponsored “Twelve Steps to Homeownership” classes Sponsored Housing Expos
- Sponsored Can-TV series promoting homeownership
- Sponsored “Financial Freedom” workshops throughout Illinois
- Sponsored foreclosure prevention workshops
The Legal Redress Committee has been at the forefront of addressing discrimination in all areas including but not limited to employment, housing, health, education, etc. We do not have the capacity to handle individual cases, however, we do provide referral services. The National NAACP does enter class action suits when discrimination affects a group of individuals. Listed below are some of our activities:
- Assisted in helping to pass the legislation that would issue tickets or fines for pot smokers
- Later we worked towards getting legislation passed making cannabis legal in the State of Illinois
- Supported legislation that would seal minor offenses that keep individuals from being able to find work
- Sponsored Law Day which provided consultation for participants regarding their legal issues and
- Sponsored “Know Your Rights” seminars so that youngsters will understand their rights when stopped by the
- Working in conjunction with other organizations to prevent foreclosures and eliminate predatory
- Testified before the Chicago Police Board Review for inappropriate behavior by policemen
- Assisted inmates in moving to prisons closer to
- Provided legal referral service to individuals
- Cooperated with the S. Department of Justice in relation to the desegregation decree.
- Participated in Expungement Summit and ongoing support to individuals seeking expungement of criminal
- Provided information and resources to individuals
- Assisted in the redistricting map that correctly represents African Americans fairly
The Labor and Industry Committee worked towards investment in community-driven strategies. We have worked to expand access and participation in markets for Black workers, consumers, and business owners by:
- Hosting Job Fairs that provided pre-employment skills and interviewing techniques with individuals and made other resources available to participant
- Answered and addressed many calls regarding discrimination in employment
- Acted as a conduit for job opportunities available at various
- Monitored companies to encourage affirmative action in their hiring
- Created a directory of resumes for referrals to job opportunities
- Participation in Illinois’ Restore. Reinvest.
- Participation in Illinois’ Department of Human Services Grant
The branch has been very active in Civic Engagement. Our focus has been on getting citizens involved in the decision-making process that governs their lives and that is thru participating in voting and learning what the true issues are and how it affects them personally. We have:
- Hosted political forums for the State of Illinois, county, municipal, and S. Candidates’ Forum
- Spoke at a press conference in support of legislation for the “Public Safety Ex-Offender Self Sufficiency Act,” sponsored by Congressman Danny K. Davis
- Participated in Legislative Mobilization in Washington,
- Maintains ongoing voter registration, voter education, motivation, and get-out-the-vote activities
- Campaigned vigorously against the election reform bill and the “no fear” federal employment anti-discrimination bill.
- Coalesced with national anti-gun lobbyists and press conferences to get guns off the
- Participated in Affirmative Action Rally held in Washington,
- Participated in the drafting of the Help America Vote Act in
- Hosted training sessions to increase the number of deputy
FREEDOM FUND AWARDEES
Barbara Ann Minor
Dr. Carol Adams
Rev. John Crawford, Jr.
Coach Quitman Dillard
Senator Barak Obama
Commissioner Barbara McGowan
Commissioner Bobbie Steele
Mr. & Mrs. Donzell Starks
Dr. Joyce Kenner
George & Regina Daniels
Coach Sonny Parker
Honorable Arthur Turner, Jr.
Commander Barbara West
Wallace “Mickey” Johnson