History of Seattle King County NAACP
Formed in 1913, the Seattle Branch of the NAACP has voiced the concerns of African Americans and financially supported National NAACP programs.
Local action is identifiable in part as striving for educational and employment opportunities, human rights, open housing along with other organizations through rallies, (culminating in passage of an open housing ordinance) and voter registration.
The Branch has assisted African Americans gain employment opportunities in several sectors of the local economy such as department stores, including Nordstrom's the Bon Marche and Frederick & Nelson; grocery stores like Safeway, Albertson's and Tradewell; and municipal agencies including the Fire Department. Today, the Branch is continuing to expand employment opportunity through Fair Share Agreements.
In addition to expanding the African American economy base by increasing employment opportunities, the Branch also formed a credit union to make loans affordable in the community.
Education has been another major concern of the Branch. Through picketing and filing a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights the Branch sought desegregation of the Seattle Public School system to facilitate education. Branch protest led to the hiring of the first African American teacher and implementation of the desegregation plan without a court order. The Branch has offered Seattle Public Schools opportunities to present information regarding school concerns through forums and afforded School Board members opportunities to make presentations.
The Branch has been a voice of concern and consciousness regarding humane law enforcement. It challenged police actions (shooting incidents and use of the choke hold) resulting in death and worked with others in Freedom Patrols and seeking federal assistance to rectify human rights violations.
Focusing on preventive action, the Branch, at Judkins Park, held the first march against drugs and prostitution. Also the Branch afforded persons an opportunity through Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) representatives appearing at a regular meeting to learn more about drug identification, drug dependency, and interdiction.
To increase African American involvement in the political process, the Branch has supported voter registration through members serving as deputy registrars throughout the community. The effort has been heightened by the participation of concerned citizens, businesses and elected officials.
The Branch recognizes that the youth are the future of not only the NAACP, but the broader African American community. Consequently, it has provided opportunities for them to develop through Youth Council and ACT-SO.
Your participation in any facet of the Branch's programs will increase our ability to respond to local and national civil rights concerns.
Another historical look at the Seattle Branch of the NAACP is available at HistoryLink. This history was prepared by Mary T. Henry.