Who Were the Founders of the NAACP?

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was founded in 1909 by a small group of educators and activists, including W. E. B. DuBois, Oscar Micheaux and Mary White Ovington. Their decision to form the NAACP was motivated by a race riot in Springfield, Ill. The announcement of the organization's founding was timed to coincide with Abraham Lincoln's 100th birthday.

The NAACP's founders were a diverse group, though only seven of the 60 original delegates were African American. Of these, only W. E. B. DuBois held a position on the NAACP's original governing board. DuBois was a veteran of the Niagra movement, one of the immediate precursors to the NAACP, and served on the organization's board until 1934, when he resigned over disagreements regarding the NAACP's emphasis on desegregation. Oscar Micheaux was the son of former slaves and a prolific political activist. During his life, he produced over 40 feature-length independent films. Mary White Ovington was a prominent suffragette, journalist and socialist organizer. She was motivated to join the struggle against segregation after hearing Frederick Douglass speak on the subject of civil rights in 1890. Ovington was also an ardent pacifist who publicly opposed American entry into World War I.