The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
is one of the oldest and most influential civil rights
organizations in the United States. The NAACP was founded on
February 12, 1909 by a diverse group composed of W.E.B. Du Bois
(African American), Ida Wells-Barnett (African American), Archibald
Grimke (African American), Henry Moskowitz (Jewish), Mary White
Ovington (White), Oswald Garrison Villard (German-born White), and
William English Walling (White, and son of a former slave owning
family), to work on behalf of the rights of African Americans. Its
name, retained in accord with tradition, is one of the last
surviving uses of the term "colored people".
The group is based in Baltimore, Maryland. Local chapters are
supported by the Branch and Field Services department and the Youth
and College department. The Legal Department focuses on court cases
of broad application to minorities, such as systematic
discrimination in employment, government, or education. The
Washington, D.C. bureau is responsible for lobbying the U.S.
Government; and the Education Department works to improve public
education at the local, state and federal levels. The goal of the
Health Division is to advance healthcare for minorities through
public policy initiatives and education. As of 2007, the NAACP had
approximately 400,000 paying and non-paying members.