National Negro Committee

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The National Negro Committee (formed: New York City, May 31 and June 1, 1909 - ceased: New York City, May 12, 1910) was created in response to the Springfield race riot of 1908 against the black community in Springfield, Illinois. Prominent black activists and white progressives called for a national conference to discuss African-American civil rights. They met to address the social, economic, and political rights of African Americans. This gathering served as the predecessor to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which was formally named during the second meeting in May 1910. [1]


In early September 1908 American socialist William English Walling published an article, "Race War in the North" in The Independent. He described the massive white race riot directed at black residents in Springfield, Illinois, hometown of late President Abraham Lincoln. The riot had resulted in seven deaths, the destruction of 40 homes and 24 businesses, and 107 indictments against mostly blacks who had tried to defend their homes. Walling concluded by saying that a powerful body of citizens needed to come to the aid of blacks in the United States. Mary Ovington wrote to Walling about her interest in this subject and met with him at his apartment in New York City, along with social worker Dr. Henry Moskowitz.

The three decided to organize a national conference on the civil and political rights of African Americans, to be held in New York on the centennial of Lincoln’s birthday, February 12, 1909. They issued a call to progressives, and many people responded. They formed the National Negro Committee, which held its first meeting in New York on May 31 and June 1, 1909, at the Henry Street Settlement House on the Lower East Side.

By May 1910, the National Negro Committee and attendees at its second conference organized a permanent body known as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

National Negro Committee Membership on June 1, 1909[edit]


  1. ^ White, Deborah (2012). Freedom On My Mind. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin. p. 463. ISBN 978-0-312-64884-8.