Woker Than Ever?

11 08 2017

Guest post by Puggg

From Channel 2 this morning, about the NAACP becoming more “militant” and “woke.”

But something changed when a local NAACP official recently found a way to catapult the group back into the national spotlight. He issued a travel advisory for the state of Missouri, urging “extreme CAUTION” for any person of color traveling there. The advisory evoked the Green Book, a pamphlet that guided black motorists across the treacherous terrain of Jim Crow’s America. Reporters started asking if Missouri is the new Mississippi. And NAACP leaders seemed delighted.

“We were built for this moment,” says John Gaskin, a spokesman for the group’s St. Louis branch. “Cadillacs are built for the highways.”

Yet the story behind the story — why the NAACP came up with the advisory and what it says about a potentially seismic shift in the group’s philosophy — is as interesting as the advisory itself.

Start with a basic question: Is the advisory really necessary, or is it a bit over the top?

Consider the history. This is the first time the NAACP has issued a travel advisory.

It was founded during a period of widespread lynching in the United States and didn’t issue one then.

It didn’t issue one after four black girls were killed in a church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963.

It didn’t issue one when Medgar Evers, one of its most prominent leaders, was shot to death in front of his Mississippi home that same year.

It didn’t issue one when riots erupted across America after the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. five years later.

Why now?

Nimrod “Rod” Chapel Jr., president of the NAACP’s Missouri State Conference, says he decided to issue the advisory after the state’s Legislature passed a law in June making it more difficult to sue for housing or job discrimination. The full NAACP subsequently adopted his advisory at its national convention.

Why now, they ask?

Our regular host had this to say on June 28.

What the NAACP is really grinding over is that since the bill would make it more difficult even to file some discrimination lawsuits, this means the NAACP-LDF won’t be able to submit billable hours to the state.

The answer to “why now” is because what is going on “now” is interfering with the NAACP’s revenue stream.




2 responses

11 08 2017

I agree with your larger point, but the NAACP was founded in 1909. By then, lynching numbers were already starting to decline from the highs of the early to mid 1890s. Given the totals, I don’t know that it would be accurate to call it a widespread practice at that point. You are correct, that a black person traveling to the rural South at that point would have had much more to fear in terms of violence than one traveling to Missouri today. Here are the figures from the Tuskegee Institute by year and race.

12 08 2017

Absolutely correct assessment. My dad wasn’t highly “educated”, but he always said to follow the money.

It's your dime, spill it. And also...NO TROLLS ALLOWED~!

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