African Americans in the Law Collection

The NAACP and William H. Hastie Collections

Thurgood Marshall Law Library's NAACP Collection | Papers of the NAACP on Microfilm | William H. Hastie Papers on Microfilm

Thurgood Marshall Law Library's NAACP Collection

The archives of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), nearly 2 million pages of internal memos, legal briefings and direct action summaries from the association’s national, legal and branch offices throughout the United States are now fully searchable and accessible through the Library’s ownership of the database NAACP Papers from History Vault - (ProQuest). Affiliated users and visitors may access this database while on site at the Thurgood Marshall Law Library.

Thurgood Marshall Law Library's digital subscription includes:

  • Board of Directors, Annual Conferences, Major Speeches, and National Staff Files
    This module provides a comprehensive view of the NAACP’s evolution, policies, and achievements from 1909-1970. Included are thousands of pages of minutes of directors’ meetings, monthly reports from officers to the board of directors, proceedings of the annual business meetings, significant records of the association’s annual conferences, plus voluminous special reports on a wide range of issues. The Annual Conferences served both as a major catalyst for attracting publicity and as an important avenue for grass roots participation (through branch delegations) in the affairs of the national organization. The conferences were held in a different city each year. The speeches and the resolutions passed at the annual conferences are excellent ways to study the major concerns of the NAACP on a yearly basis.

  • Branch Department, Branch Files, and Youth Department Files
    The NAACP branch files in this module chronicle the local heroes of the civil rights revolution via NAACP branches throughout the United States, from 1913-1972. The contributions of scores of local leaders—attorneys, community organizers, financial benefactors, students, mothers, school teachers, and other participants—are revealed in these records. The Branch Department, Branch Files, and Youth Department Files in this module of NAACP Papers will allow researchers at all levels new opportunities to explore the contributions of NAACP local leaders. The branch files also indicate how effectively the NAACP national office used the branch network to advance the NAACP national program. The Youth Department Files document how the NAACP tapped the energy and talent of college students and other young people at the state and local levels.

  • Special Subjects
    The NAACP was involved in several subject s that did not rise to the level of major campaigns but were still vital to the organization. This module contains records on those subjects, and in so doing, reveals the wide scope of NAACP activism and interest.

    These files cover subjects and episodes that are crucial to the NAACP's history, such as civil rights complaints and legislation, the Klan, Birth of a Nation, the Walter White-W. E. B. Du Bois controversy of 1933-1934, communism and anticommunism during the years of the "red scare," the congressional prosecution of Hollywood personalities, the prosecution of conscientious objectors during World War II, NAACP’s relations with African colonial liberation movements, NAACP fundraising and membership recruitment, urban riots, the War on Poverty, and the emergence of the Black Power Movement.

  • The NAACP's Major Campaigns—Education, Voting, Housing, Employment, Armed Forces
    Major campaigns for equal access to education, voting, employment, housing and the military are covered in this module. The education files in this second module document the NAACP’s systematic assault on segregated education that culminated in Brown v. Board of Education in 1954. Files from 1955 –1965 focus on the NAACP’s efforts to implement the Brown decision as well as to combat de facto segregation outside of the South.

  • The NAACP’s Major Campaigns—Legal Department Files
    This NAACP module consists of the working case files of the NAACP’s general counsel and his Legal Department staff for the period from 1956 to 1972. The files document the NAACP’s aggressive campaign to bring about desegregation throughout the United States, particularly in the South.

    In total, this module contains over 600 cases from 34 states and the District of Columbia. The cases in this module pertain to school desegregation, abuses of police procedure, employment discrimination, freedom of speech, privacy, freedom of association, and housing discrimination.

  • The NAACP's Major Campaigns—Scottsboro, Anti-Lynching, Criminal Justice, Peonage, Labor, and Segregation and Discrimination Complaints and Responses.
    One of the highlights of this NAACP module are the records on the Scottsboro case, one of the most celebrated criminal trials of the 20th century. This module also contains the key NAACP national office files on the campaign against lynching and mob violence, and NAACP efforts to fight against discrimination in the criminal justice system.

Papers of the NAACP on Microfilm

In addition, the Law Library has a small microform and collection of original NAACP reports, as well as documents and publications donated by Professor Larry Gibson. NAACP Collection inventory »

The following collections are in the microfiche set:

  • Part 3 -The Campaign for Educational Equality: Legal Department and Central Office Files, 1913-1965
  • Part 4 - The Voting Rights Campaign, 1916-1950
  • Part 4 - Supplement - Voting Rights, General Office Files, 1956 - 1965
  • Part 7A - The Anti-Lynching Campaign, Investigative Files, 1912-1955
  • Part 7B - The Anti-Lynching Campaign, Legislative and Publicity Files, 1916-1955
  • Part 8 - Discrimination in the Criminal Justice System, Legal Department and Central Office Records, 1910-1955
  • Part 12A - Selected Branch Files, 1913-1939, the South
  • Part 18 - Special Subjects, Series A: Legal Department Files, 1940-1955
  • Part 26A - Selected Branch Files, 1940-1955, the South
  • Part 27A - Selected Branch Files, 1956-1965, the South

The William H. Hastie Papers on Microfilm

The Law Library also has in microfiche the papers of prominent African American jurist and statesman William H. Hastie. The material is located on the first floor of the library building and is open to the public and law school community.

This collection is in two parts:

  • Part 1 - Judicial Activities
  • Part 2 - Civil Rights, Organizational and Private Activities

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