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Americas

Is there still a role for NAACP in post-Obama USA?

Video by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2009-07-28

The NAACP, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, is celebrating its 100th anniversary. But with a black president now in office, does the United States still need such an organisation?

Ashton King and his friends are touring New York City. High school students in Dallas, they came here to participate in the 100th anniversary convention of the NAACP, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. "Racism is still alive; it will never go away. It’s just more kept under the rug. That’s why we still need groups like this," says King.

 

The United States has elected a black president, but these young activists feel racial harmony is still far away. "In my school ... some people there, they didn’t really accept that Obama was elected as president. They wanted McCain as president," explains Rave Lancred, another student from Dallas.

 

NAACP member Darnell Armstrong brought his children with him to the convention. Looking at the wax statues of former leaders of the movement, he tells them how important the NAACP was for him. "The important thing is that they be part of this history, understand the importance of this organisation, because unbeknowst to them, the reason why I am successful in life is because I was raised in this very same organization."

 

But the anniversary comes also at a moment of questions and doubts for the NAACP. In short, can an organisation that fought for black rights still be usefull now that the country has elected a black president ?

 

To prove it is still relevant, the organization is taking new fights, like an initiative led by actor Jeffrey Wright. With the NAACP president, Wright is launching a campaign to encourage witnesses of police misconduct to film them with their cell phones. Wright was inspired to launch the campaign after he was arrested and zapped with a Taser after an altercation in a bar : "We have made incredible strides as a nation in electing Barack Obama as president, but still we have huge numbers of people incarcerated, we have a criminality culture that surrounds the community that need to be adressed, we have an injurious relationship between the cops and the community too often."

 

To make progress on these issues, say activists, Barack Obama cannot do anything by himself. He needs a strong black movement behind him.
 

Date created : 2009-07-16

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