NAACP Detroit Branch Records - An addition to a long history of fighting for civil rights and community improvement

The Walter P. Reuther Library is happy to announce an addition to the NAACP Detroit Branch Records collection.

The Detroit Branch of the NAACP was established in 1912, making it one of the oldest branches in the country. Over the past century, this organization has worked to support and improve the lives of African Americans, particularly in areas of housing, employment, education, police-community relations, and voting.

This fascinating collection includes a broad range of materials including administrative files like Executive Committee and Board of Directors meeting minutes, correspondence, and financial statements, detailing the day-to-day running of the Branch. While the previously opened parts of this collection contained important files regarding the 1943 Detroit riot and discrimination complaints, in addition to administrative papers, subject files on occurrences in Detroit, and NAACP publications (both national and Detroit Branch), the new addition to the records adds more recent history of the Branch's activities from the about the 1970s through 2016. With topics widely ranging from communications and relations with the National and regional NAACP to the closing of Southwest Detroit Hospital, this addition adds a great deal of depth to the history of the Detroit Branch, including the important

NAACP Detroit Branch 'Take Your Soles 2 the Polls' yard sign. Full-size download

programs and events sponsored and held by the Detroit Branch that serve the community and its members.

Photographs, planning documents, and fliers help document many of these long-standing programs and events such as:
-Ask the Lawyer: Offers free consultations with an attorney regarding personal legal matters.
-Shop Detroit: An annual campaign to increase store-traffic for black owned and Detroit businesses.
-Voting efforts and campaigns: The Detroit Branch works to increase registered minority voters, voter turnout, and voter education. The 'Soles to the Polls' campaign is one of these dedicated efforts to mobilize voters and the collection at the Reuther library has fliers, public service announcements, and even a yard sign documenting the efforts to improve voter empowerment.

Some of the branch's strongest programs though focus on youth and promoting academic and artistic success, including:
-Youth Council: Has records dating back to the 1960s in this collection. It is an excellent leadership opportunity for young members who work on strategic planning and implementing solutions for problems facing youth in the community.
-ACT-SO Program: A year-long scholastic enrichment program that helps students to train and compete in categories ranging from STEM to performing arts.
-Art and Essay Competition: An annual competition where students are asked to write an essay or create an art piece on the topic of "What the Civil Rights Struggle Means to Me."
-Back to School/Stay in School Program: An annual event to help students prepare for a new school year, provides fun for the whole family and students receive school supplies.