By 1965, a variety of organizations, all claiming faith in the idea of justice and equality, had arisen. They held differing philosophies and offered different methods for getting the job done. Some of the most important of these organizations included the following:
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF COLORED PEOPLE (NAACP)
Roy Wilkins, Executive Director
The NAACP, the oldest civil rights organization in the United States, was also seen as the most conservative as the movement entered the sixties. It was founded on February 12, 1909 by a multiracial group of activists who answered "The Call" to renew the struggle for civil and political liberty. The NAACP encouraged the participation of people of all races, nationalities and religious denominations. It struck the blow that won the battle for desegregation in 1954 when it won the Brown v. Board of Education case in the Supreme Court.
SOUTHERN CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE (SCLC)
Martin Luther King, Jr., President
SCLC advocated non-violent resistance as a means of reaching integration. It was founded on the New Testament teachings of turning the other cheek and the redemptive power of suffering. By 1965, however, its strategies were increasingly questioned as the focus of the movement moved from desegregation to economic justice.
NATIONAL URBAN LEAGUE
Whitney M. Young, Jr., Executive Director
The National Urban League was created out of a direct reaction to the Great Migration. Blacks who migrated north soon discovered that it did not fulfill its promises of opportunity and equality. The fledgling organization counseled black migrants from the South, helped train black social workers, and worked in various other ways to increase educational and employment opportunities. Ruth Standish, the widow of a railroad magnate, and African-American social worker Dr. George Edmund Haynes, a graduate of Fisk University, Yale University, and Columbia University founded the League.
Whitney M. Young, Jr., became executive director in 1961, and the Civil Rights movement prompted changes for the organization. Although the League's tax-exempt status barred it from protest activities, its New York headquarters hosted the planning meetings of A. Philip Randolph, Martin Luther King, Jr., and other civil rights leaders for the 1963 March on Washington.
STUDENT NONVIOLENT COORDINATING COMMITTEE (SNCC)
John Lewis, Chairman
The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee spearheaded the most important civil rights advances in the South. This diverse movement led by following the local consensus in the communities it had organized.
Congress of Racial Equality (CORE)
James Farmer, President
CORE was founded in 1942 by a group of students in Chicago. CORE desegregated Washington restaurants during WWII with the slogan, "Hitler's Way or the American Way?" Its members were pacifists who had been deeply influenced by the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi and the nonviolent civil disobedience campaign that he used successfully against British rule in India. CORE students were convinced that Gandhi's methods could be used to obtain civil rights in America.
ORGANIZATION OF AFRO-AMERICAN UNITY
Malik El-Shabazz, President
After Malcolm X broke from the Nation of Islam in March of 1964, he changed his name and adopted orthodox Islam as his religion, and committed his new organization to establishing alliances with liberal and left-leaning whites. He was assassinated, however, before the new group could make an impact.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 fulfilled the promises of equal protection first passed during Reconstruction. They reversed a century of southern white domination over African-Americans. Although it would take another two decades to end segregation, the major goals of the civil rights coalition had been achieved.