On February 12, 1909, the organization that would later become the National Association for the Advancement of People of Color was founded by the influential and conscientious in the wake of staggering racism, both institutional and interpersonal.
Today, as the country is embroiled in one racially-charged incident after another, and with a thinly-veiled white nationalist sitting in the Oval Office, the resounding dialectic from many societal sectors is that racism has existed in a static yet transmutable form since before the charter of 1776 signified the creation of the United States of America.
While racism is a clear and present danger to African-Americans and all other non-black people of color who are looked upon as second class citizens, the primary historic target of organized, visceral and government sanctioned racism has always been the descendants of kidnapped Africans that were dragged to America against their will.
The National Negro Committee, the early working title of the NAACP, included such black intellectual icons as W.E.B. DuBois, Ida B. Wells, Archibald Grimke and Mary Church Terrell, among others.
The NAACP was incorporated a year later.
From a Shadow League interview with current NAACP president Derrick Johnson:
The Shadow League: There have been athletes who were activists in the past. Muhammad Ali most prominent among them. What do you think of the current line of activist-athletes that have been inspired by Colin Kaepernick?
Derrick Johnson: That’s an advancement for the broader community. It is a new group of individuals, but it is an old process that has been done for many years. Jack Johnson, the famous boxer, from time to time he used his platform to demonstrate his position on many issues. Of course, you mention Jim Brown, same thing, Harry Belafonte, using his platform was a huge determining factor during the civil rights movement, along with Sidney Poitier and Dick Gregory. So it is a pleasing opportunity to see many of the NFL players and NBA players but also actors and other entertainers continuously use their platforms to advance social justice particularly for African Americans.
The National Association for the Advancement of People of Color has been at the vanguard of almost every fight for the human and civil rights of black people in America. This includes in sports.
Historically, professional and collegiate sports have acted as a pathway for many black folks to achieve the American dream of acceptance and advancement. It has also been where some of the toughest opponents of segregation and equality dug in their heels.
While at times cautious about jumping on board with changing trends in activism and community organizing, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People always seems to make an effort to recognize individuals who have excelled in advancing the image, economic status, and general societal outlooks of people of African descent in America, and abroad in many cases.
Below is a brief listing of instances in which the NAACP spoke up for, supported or awarded some of the biggest names in American sports activism for the purpose of bettering the experience of black folk in this country.
Ali Tribute with Jennifer Hudson
In 2009, the NAACP Image Awards bestowed the Greatest, aka Muhammad Ali, with its prestigious President’s Award. Ali, known for his daring stance against the United States draft, the war in Vietnam and for his charismatic and oftentimes flamboyant speaking style died in 2016 at age 74.
His grace in the ring was only challenged by the grace he exhibited outside of it.
The drama of modern free agency has become as much a part of professional sports as the games themselves. But it wasn’t always that way. More videos from Retro Report: http://www.retroreport.org Like Retro Report on Facebook: http://fb.com/RetroReport Follow Retro Report on Twitter: http://twitter.com/RetroReport Follow Retro Report on Instagram: https://instagram.com/retroreport/
Curt Flood is best known for introducing free agency to Major League Baseball, and the rest of American pro sports by proxy.
His idolization of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and Jackie Robinson, who just broke the color line in 1947 with the Brooklyn Dodgers, drew the then impressionable 24-year-old to Mississippi to participate in a non-violent protest.
It would change his life forever. His sacrifice, and subsequent abandonment by other MLB players, caused a deep depression that resulted in a premature death in 1997 at 59 years old.
It’s the first time in 18 years the award has been presented.
Do we really need to tell y’all how dope Lebron James is, both on and off the floor? Do we need to tell you about all his philanthropic efforts , his charities and so forth? We didn’t think so.
But what you may not have known is he was bestowed with the NAACP Jackie Robinson Sports Award two years ago. LeBron’s legacy in basketball can only be supplanted by his continued philanthropic undertakings and charitable mindset, which will likely continue long after he’s retired.
Colin Kaepernick, an American football player who in 2016 started kneeling during the national anthem played before matches in protest against police brutality against African Americans, has been awarded the rights group Amnesty International’s top honour. The former San Francisco 49ers star was handed the Ambassador of Conscience Award at a ceremony on Saturday in the Dutch capital, Amsterdam, by onetime teammate Eric Reid.
The NAACP was one of the earliest and most ardent supporters of Colin Kaepernick from the time that he first took a knee through his recent victory over the National Football League, which led him to withdraw a collusion case that it appears he had a very high chance of winning in a court of law.
Former NAACP president Cornell William Brooks reportedly compared Kap to Rosa Parks for his sacrifice and bravery. There aren’t many historical precedents in which a progressive-minded individual is able to have his metaphorical cake and eat it to.
His settlement amount is officially sealed thanks to a nondisclosure agreement with the NFL, but there are several reports that estimate his deal to be between $60 and $80 million.
Also, there’s a fair probability that he just might play again in the NFL as soon as next season.