“A lot of our work centers on moving this struggle from enforcing civil rights to both enforcing civil rights and realizing human rights,” said NAACP President Benjamin T. Jealous. “A lot of the disparities in this country go back to the fact that Black people still have a very hard time finding a good job, a very hard time getting their kids to be able to attend good schools, and if we can take care of those basics–good job, good school–then we could also deal with this completely unnatural, historical and very serious, dramatic rise in the incarceration rates of Black people in this country. Deal with these structural problems, then this country will move toward being postracial much more quickly. But right now, there’s a big rock that stands between most working-class and poor Black people in this society and the rest of the country, and we have to break up that rock.”

History books, such as “Down the Glory Road,” that are so rarely used in public schools, would fill Americans with pride and inspire many questions. From this insightful text, we look at the early 20th century example of resistance in the African-American legacy. The spring-board to the NAACP was the Niagara Movement, and one of its brilliant leaders– W.E.B. DuBois–was engaged in intense political activity because of the rise of racial hatred and terrorism across the country.

The Niagara militants who joined DuBois evolved their organization out of necessity following the horrific race riot of 1908 in Springfield, Illinois. Bringing together not just the most courageous of the Black elite, but also white abolitionists and leading social activists of the day, there was an urgent need to respond to the lynchings.

In 1909, the NAACP was formed and a series of court battles would be launched by the organization and its legal arm, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, for the next 100 years, including:

* The victory against a discriminatory Oklahoma law, the “Grandfather Clause,” in 1910.The 30-year campaign against lynching and its Dyer bill, which would punish those who participated in or failed to prosecute lynch mobs.

* The successful challenge of the Plessy v. Ferguson doctrine in 1930. The 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case, which finally overturned Plessy.

* The desegregation of the armed forces in 1948 led by Clarence M. Mitchell, Jr., who also led the fight with the NAACP for the passage of the Civil Rights Acts of 1957, 1964 and 1968, as well as the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

* Since the ’60s each branch throughout the country has had its battles in and out of court against housing discrimination, job discrimination, education disparities, police misconduct, etc.

* The case of Mumia Abu-Jamal has been brought for resolution many times within the plenary of the NAACP by a number of its members.

* And today, I Am Troy/The Innocence Matters campaign is a raging battle across the land and internationally.

Ben Jealous, the young and brilliant president of the NAACP, spoke of war today (in light of the war protests of the 21st century).”It was a war brought under false pretense, but at the same time, we are extremely proud of our men and women in service of this country. One of our greatest achievements of the last 100 years is desegregation of the U.S. armed forces. So, we do double duty, we try to bring this war to an end and try to ensure that the men and women of color in the U.S. armed forces are treated fairly.”