Definitions

NAACP

NAACP

in full National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

Oldest and largest U.S. civil rights organization. It was founded in 1909 to secure political, educational, social, and economic equality for African Americans; W.E.B. Du Bois and Ida B. Wells were among its 60 founders. Headquartered in Baltimore, Md., the NAACP has undertaken litigation, political activity, and public education programs. In 1939 it organized the independent Legal Defense and Education Fund as its legal arm, which sued for school desegregation in Brown v. Board of Education (1954). During World War II it pressed for desegregation of the armed forces, which was achieved in 1948. In 1967 its general counsel, Thurgood Marshall, became the U.S. Supreme Court's first African American justice.

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Dr. William Gibson (1933–2002) was an African American dentist who served as chair of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) from 1985 to 1995.

Gibson was a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University and Meharry Medical College. He served as president of the NAACP's regional branch in Greenville, South Carolina before succeeding Margaret Bush Wilson as national chairperson. As chair, he encouraged voter registration and worked to increase economic opportunities for African Americans. However, his handling of finances was controversial, and the NAACP found itself with a $4 million deficit in 1995. That year, NAACP board members voted 30-29 to replace Gibson with Myrlie Evers-Williams, widow of Medgar Evers.

Gibson died of cancer at the age of 69.

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