Thursday, February 12, 2009

Black History Month:Remembering Ida & Mary

By Richard Ivory

Given that this is Black History Month a day which seeks to highlight the many struggles of African Americans, I thought it would be fitting to make note of some Republican heroins in the struggle for Civil Rights. While today is the 100th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth it is also important in that today was the founding of the NAACP.

The NAACP was created to help African-Americans stand up to the many legal injustices so rampant in the nation at that time. Its mission has been as it I now “to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination.

What is less known about this history is that many of the NAACP’s founders were die hard Republicans. Two of its co-founders were Ida Wells and Mary Terrell. According to Wikipedia in 1909, Mary Terrell and Ida B. Wells-Barnett were invited to sign the “Call” and to attend the organizational meeting of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), thus becoming founding members.

I mention this history not as way to gloat about the Party’s past on Civil Rights but to remind African Americans and others that the Republican Party has been with our community for a very long time. Despite recent divisions with the Party I believe strongly that history can be a great starting point for dialogue and reconciliation.

Booker Rising has a great article up on the 100 History of the NAACP

No comments: