To inform youth of the problems affecting Africans in the Diaspora and other people of color.
To advance the economic, educational, social, and political
status of Africans in the Diaspora and other people of color.
To stimulate an appreciation of the African American
contribution to US civilization.
To develop an intelligent and militant youth leadership.
NAACP 1935 National Convention several young people challenged the organization
to provide young people with an opportunity and a vehicle to address the civil
rights issues facing the nation’s youth.
The NAACP National Board of Directors passed a resolution, formally creating the Youth and College Division in March of 1936.
Under the guidance of Ms. Juanita E. Jackson, Special Assistant to the Secretary, a National Youth Program was created for youth members of the NAACP. This program provided national activities for youth that were supported by monthly meetings discussing local needs of the community. The major national youth activities were demonstrations against lynching and seminars and group discussions on the inequalities in public education.
The new plan called for the scraping of what was then known as the junior branch with the old age limits of 14 – 21 years old for youth members. This was replaced by junior youth councils, ages 12 – 15, youth councils, ages 16 – 25, including college chapters, and the creation of a youth program similar to that of the adults.
At the historical first youth meeting in Baltimore, June 29 – July 4, 1936, 217 youth delegates held a national conference simultaneously with adult members. Delegates outlined a national program that addressed four major areas: equal educational opportunities, equal economic opportunities, civil liberties, and physical security against lynching.
This spirit of solidarity among black youths was sparked by years of racial discrimination, segregation, and mob violence. “Flesh and blood and the breath of life must be added to the skeleton we have constructed,” declared youth member, Edward A. Lawrence in an article in the September 1936 edition of The Crisis.
Under the leadership of Herbert L. Wright, the youth program reached an all-time high in civil rights action in 1961. In March that year, youth and college units launched sit-ins in Jacksonville, MS, integrating 2 public places and demanded jobs in all-white establishments. The NAACP records that nearly 200,000 young people were registered in 1962.
The NAACP Youth and College Division is currently comprised of over 500 Youth and College Units, representing thousands of young people across the United States dedicated to fighting for social justice advocacy.