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History Vault

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About the NAACP Papers

ProQuest and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) have teamed up to digitize the association’s archives, bringing one of the most famous records of the civil rights movement to the online world via ProQuest History Vault. The collection is nearly two million pages of internal memos, legal briefings, and direct action summaries from national, legal, and branch offices throughout the country. It charts the NAACP’s work and delivers a first-hand view into crucial issues: lynching, school desegregation, and discrimination in the military, the criminal justice system, employment, and housing, among others.

The documents span a remarkable range. National office records provide insight into NAACP’s leaders and their relationships with the U.S. Congress, with presidents from Taft to Nixon, and with other civil rights organizations. The collection also documents the full range of civil rights tactics in the 1950s and 1960s, revealing a first-hand look at the important roles grassroots leaders and women played in the civil rights movement. Documents from local NAACP branches come from all 50 states and give additional depth and insight.

With a timeline that runs from 1909 to 1972, users can examine the realities of segregation in the early 20th century to the triumphs of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and beyond. And, they can explore the challenges to the NAACP in the late 1960s and 1970s, such as the Black Power Movement, urban riots, and the Vietnam War. Legal files in the collection chart the organization’s spectacular successes from the 1910s-1970s, including the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision as well as hundreds of other important cases from across the United States.