Sign in or register
for additional privileges

The Walter White Project

Randy Stakeman, Jackson Stakeman, Authors

You appear to be using an older verion of Internet Explorer. For the best experience please upgrade your IE version or switch to a another web browser.

William English Walling and the formation of the NAACP


William English Walling was a social reformer born in Kentucky who was in Chicago when the 1908 riot occured in Springfield, Illinois.  He rushed to investigate it and subsequently wrote an article a liberal journal about it.  In it he spoke about the race hatred whites held and the vulnerable position in which African Americans were placed. Mary White Ovington, a New York social worker who was working with Africn Americans wrote him to lend her support.  They agreed to meet in New York where along with Henry Moskowitz another social worker, they met to see what they could do.  They brought other social reformers including Charles Edward Russell and Oswald Garrison Villard into their group.  Villard, the editor of the New York Post, agreed to draft a call to appear on Lincoln's birthday in 1909 for a large meeting.  Prominent social reformers, writers, religious leaders and educators like Jane Addams, Ray Stannard Baker, John Dewey, William Lloyd Garrison Jr., William Dean Howells, Lincoln Steffens, Mary Church Terrell, Bishop Alexander Walters, Ida Wells-Barnett and W.E.B. Du Bois all signed the call,

At the consequent National Negro Conference blacks and whites came together to talk openly and bluntly about race relations.  They exposed the scientific myths about black inferiority, showed how the oppression of blacks hurt both whites and blacks in the south, and planned for the future.  They selected a Committee of 40 which would take the next steps.  That committee saw the need for a permanent organization in which whites and blacks would work together. At its second Conference the National Negro Committee adopted a resolution to found a permanent organization called the National Association fir the Advancement of Colored People. The new organized promised a militant campaign for human rights and enforcement of constitutionally guaranteed rights. It would concentrate its activities  on investigation, publicity, legal aid and public meetings.*

Ovington thought that the funding for the new organization would come from "the whites, who were largely responsible for the conditions and who controlled the bulk of the nation's wealth..." The board and officers of the new association were therefore whites themselves who might find it easier to do fund raising. They immediately hired W.E.B. Du Bois to edit a magazine, The Crisis, which would set about the investigatory and publicity work concerning the plight of the Negro.* 

Comment on this page

Discussion of "William English Walling and the formation of the NAACP"

Add your voice to this discussion.

Checking your signed in status ...

Previous page on path The Formation and Organization of the NAACP, page 2 of 15 Next page on path