New York, NY – The New York City Council tonight held a reception in honor of the 100th anniversary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The event was attended by members of the National Organization, including Chairman Julian Bond, Vice-Chairman Roslyn M. Brock, President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous and Hazel Dukes, President of the New York State chapter of the NAACP, as well as George Fertitta, CEO, NYC & Company—the city’s marketing, tourism and partnership organization.
They were joined by Speaker Christine C. Quinn and Council Members Inez Dickens, Daniel R. Garodnick, Gale Brewer, Robert Jackson, Larry Seabrook, Helen Diane Foster, Maria del Carmen Arroyo, Julissa Ferraras, David Weprin, Thomas White, James Sanders, Letitia James, Mattieu Eugene, Kendall Stewart, John Liu and Leroy Comrie.
Both the New York State and National Chapters received Council proclamations. Please see the attached documents for copies.
“New York has been at the forefront of the civil rights movement, largely because of the work and the accomplishments of the NAACP,” said Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “Whether we’re talking about education, employment, economic development, criminal justice, or health care, for the last 100 years the NAACP has been there to challenge racial inequality in our country. Though we have come a long way, there is still much work to do, and I look forward to working with the NAACP every step of the way.”
“The NAACP has worked long and hard to ensure that people of color have an equal right to the basic principles outlined in our Constitution,” said Council Member Robert Jackson. “Today, we have come farther than anyone could have imagined 100 years ago, electing the first African American President. I am honored to pay tribute today to that legacy, and look forward to all we can accomplish together over the coming years.”
“‘Amazing Grace’ comes to mind when I think of the 100 year history of the greatest civil rights organization in the world, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the NAACP,” said Council Member Enez Dickens. “I want to thank Speaker Quinn for hosting this historic event. I want to recognize our progressive NAACP President, Benjamin Todd Jealous. I take pride in congratulating Dr. Julian Bond as this year’s Springarn Medal Award recipient. Most of all, I want to thank my friend, Hazel Dukes, for her fortitude, for her strength, for her never ending battle to achieve civil and human rights not only for black Americans but for all. I want to express my love and appreciation to Hazel who has for so many years, through victory and defeat, through sun and storm, fought for justice and was always by my side. There are those who question, do we need another 100 years of the NAACP? One has only to remember the sorrow in the young black child’ s face as he spoke about the racist incident at a swimming pool where white folks took their children out of the water for fear of being contaminated by blacks. One has only to understand that this happened just last week and you will know that we need the NAACP and we need our generals for justice who will stand with the NAACP and Hazel Dukes.”
Councilman Thomas White Jr. said, “As we mark the NAACP’s 100 years of steadfast and unwavering civil rights advocacy on behalf those who lacked and many who continue to lack political, economic, civil and what many would consider to be basic human rights, we must take pride in many of the landmark civil rights accomplishments , many of which the NAACP helped bring to fruition, but at the same time not be swayed into a false sense of security that allows the enemies of justice and tolerance to prevail or erode or victories.”
“While we may look back with pride on the substantial progress made in shaping human and civil rights, we cannot allow for the great strides we’ve made lull us into a false sense of complacency,” said Council Member John Liu. “In honor of the NAACP Centennial, we have an opportunity to examine and build upon the work that still remains. It was clear during the civil rights movement of the 1960s and -70s that we came together in opposition of the evils of discrimination, segregation and economic inequality. It is certainly because of the work of the NAACP that I have been able to serve in the NYC Council. What unites us today is the continuation of the pursuit of equality and social and economic justice.”
“It is my distinct honor and privilege to commend and certainly salute the NAACP on its sterling contribution to mankind,” said Council Member Mathieu Eugene. “The NAACP has been, since its inception in 1909, the most important and effective civil rights organization in the world, continuously working to secure equality for all people, and the basic constitutional rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of human dignity. It is truly a pleasure for me to congratulate President Jealous, the past Presidents, staff, its numerous members, friends and supporters on this momentous centennial celebration.”
“Today we celebrate 100 years of the NAACP and its contributions, not just to this great City but to our Nation as a whole,” said Council Member David Weprin. “The NAACP has played a vital role in our young Nations history and we could not have come as far as we have without their hard work.”
“Over the last 100 years, our nation has made historic strides to ensure that every American, regardless of race, religion, or creed, enjoys the same basic civil liberties provided by our great constitution,” said Council Member Helen D. Foster. “Thanks to the relentless work of the NAACP, we have recently seen the election of the country’s first African-American President and the nomination of the first Latina woman to the United State Supreme Court. Today’s celebration proudly serves as a renewal of our promise to continue our fight to afford the same rights to all Americans. I can only hope the next 100 years will be as successful as the last. ”
“I truly cannot imagine where our country would be today had we not had the steadfast dedication and leadership of the NAACP over the last 100 years,” said Council Member Maria Del Carmen Arroyo. “I am so proud to be able to celebrate the incredible achievements made by this pioneering and historic organization today and I know that our children and our children’s children will have even more to celebrate in the years the lie ahead.”
“Since its inception 100 years ago,” said Council Member Julissa Ferreras, “the NAACP has fought for those who can’t fight for themselves. It has served as an inspiration to never turn a blind eye to injustice, to push through obstacles, and to continue to fight until everyone is treated fairly. This week, we are celebrating not only the progress they have made since 1909; but we’re also gathering to plan our steps over the next 100 years.”
“For a century now, the NAACP has been on the front lines of every milestone in the struggle for civil rights,” said Civil Rights Committee Chair Larry Seabrook. “It has grown from a small group based in New York City, to a worldwide organization over half a million strong. And as the history of the NAACP, we recommit ourselves to their continued mission of social equality, economic opportunity, and an end to discrimination.”
“The NAACP has played an immeasurable role in the history of the civil rights movement, and the history of New York City. In the lifetime of the group, our nation has gone from a place in which African-Americans could not vote, to a country that elected an African-American president,” said Council Member Kendall Stewart. “We can only imagine what new levels of equality the NAACP will help usher in during their next one hundred years.”
“On behalf of the residents of my district, many of whom are veteran Civil Rights activists and members of the Jamaica, Queens, branch of the NAACP, I want to take the opportunity to congratulate the organization on this historic milestone,” said Council Member Leroy Comrie. “I also want to welcome all the delegates and hope they have the opportunity to get around and see our great city. I am proud to say that I’ve worked and marched with the NAACP on many social, education and economic issues and can also attest to the fact that this organization is needed now more than ever. I look forward to hearing about the NAACP agenda for the next 100 years as we work toward building a fair and just society.”
“In fighting for equal rights and an end to discrimination, the NAACP has been at the forefront of one of America’s greatest challenges,” said Council Member Dan Garodnick. “We can all be extremely proud of the progress this nation has made during the NAACP’s first hundred years, and I am hopeful that the next hundred will be equally successful.”
“I am delighted that the NAACP selected New York City as the venue for their 100th Anniversary. As one of the staff members in the Dinkins Administration who organized large conventions of mayors and national organizations, I know from personal experience the importance of such gatherings to our economy,” said Council Member Gale Brewer. “In this case, it is also an honor that the NAACP is celebrating with us, and reminding us of the extraordinarily important contributions that members have made and continue to make to our country. As a member of the Mid-Manhattan branch, their representative in the City Council, and a supporter of ACT-S0, I look forward to continuing our work together in the future.”
“From Web Dubois to Ben Jealous the NAACP’s leadership has been extraordinary,” said Council Member James Sanders. “I can’t think of any organization that has played a more pivotal role in ensuring equality, freedom, and justice for all regardless of race, color, or creed. May the NAACP live to fight for another century and beyond.”
“Congratulations to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People on its 100 years of invaluable service, not just to African Americans, but for all Americans,” said Council Member Letitia James. “The NAACP’s hard work and dedication has without a doubt pushed the frontier of economic and social justice forward. What an appropriate milestone year this is to celebrate the NAACP’s 100th anniversary – with the election of our nation’s first African American President it is clear that we have come a very long way, thank you NAACP! Beyond 2009, I am certain the NAACP will keep up the critical work it began a century ago and continue to make the United States more just for all.
“We welcome the NAACP home for its centennial celebration, and are proud to have supported the organization for this past year in preparation for this milestone event,” said NYC & Company CEO George Fertitta. “Over the years, the NAACP has become a beacon for equality, diversity and justice in the face of prejudice and racism. In many ways the organization remains representative of the diverse, forward-looking City in which it was founded. It is only fitting that it would return here for this historic moment.”
“The Metropolitan Museum of Art is proud to be a part of the NAACP’s 100th anniversary,” said Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO, and Emily K. Rafferty, President, of the Museum. “What better way to take part in this celebration than showing, through art, the unification of the human spirit and the American people.”