NAACP meeting. Paul Henderson. MdHS, HEN.00.A2-147.
Founded in 1912, the Baltimore Branch of the NAACP is the second oldest in the country. In response to legal segregation in education, housing, and employment, Dr. Carl Murphy, editor of the Afro-American newspaper, called a meeting with fourteen community leaders in 1935 in an effort to revitalize the branch. Dr. Lillie May Carroll Jackson was one of the fourteen and from then until 1970, she would be president of the Baltimore Branch. The association’s membership in 1965 totaled 440,538 in 1,642 branches throughout the U.S.
NAACP Membership Registration Campaign meeting
4 in. x 5 in. acetate negative
Paul Henderson Photograph Collection, HEN.00.A2-147
Maryland Historical Society
Group portrait [NAACP lawyers with Esther McCready and others], 1950. Paul Henderson, HEN.02.07-019.
Although fully qualified, Esther McCready (third from left) was denied admission to the University of Maryland School of Nursing solely because of her skin color. Seen here with her attorneys, Thurgood Marshall (fourth from left) and Donald Gaines Murray (second from right), McCready sued the university for admission based on the argument that she was not provided “equal protection under the law” (McCready v. Byrd, 1949) and forced to pursue her education out-of-state where blacks were accepted while her white counterparts were being trained in state. On April 14, 1950, the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled in McCready’s favor. Also pictured: Parren Mitchell (far right).
Group portrait [NAACP lawyers with Esther McCready and others]
Paul Henderson, 1899-1988
4 in. x 5 in. acetate negative
Paul Henderson Photograph Collection, HEN.02.07-019
Maryland Historical Society
Bayard is mostly recognized for organizing the 1963 March on Washington and being a close advisor to Martin Luther King, Jr. Not only was Rustin fighting for his rights as an African American in America, but he was also fighting for his right to live an openly gay lifestyle. To find out more about Rustin, visit the site of a documentary on Rustin at Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin at rustin.org. There is a great trailer for the documentary on the home page.
A cropped version of Henderson’s photograph ran in the Afro-American newspaper on October 29, 1949 with the following caption: Bayard Rustin, who spent 22 days on the North Carolina chain gang for refusal to obey the jim crow travel laws, is shown as he joined the NAACP picket line at Ford’s Theatre, last week, in protest of its policy of segregation. This is the fourth season of the NAACP’s picketing in Baltimore. Shown left to right, are Mrs. Bowen Jackson and Mr. Rustin.
Pedestrians on Pennsylvania Avenue. Paul Henderson. MdHS, HEN.00.B1-112.
Pennsylvania Avenue was the black community’s place for entertainment, retail stores, clubs, restaurants, and much more. Some businesses, however, upheld strict Jim Crow policies. In an effort to change policies, the self-described prophet, Kiowa Costonie, along with many organizations including the City-Wide Young People’s Forum conducted the “Buy Where You Can Work Campaign” in the early 1930s. The purpose of the campaign was to force white-owned stores in the black community to hire black employees. After picketing began, business owners headed to the courts to request they deem the picketing illegal. [Image: Pedestrians on sidewalk, 1600 block, Pennsylvania Avenue, March 1948, Maryland Historical Society, HEN.00.B1-112.]
More photographs of Pennsylvania Avenue by Paul Henderson:
Protesting segregated education and teacher-training programs. Paul Henderson. MdHS, HEN.00.A2-161
One of the first major battles of the Baltimore Branch NAACP was to champion the cause of many black teachers in public schools who received lesser salaries than their white counterparts. The NAACP fought for equal pay, equal facilities for learning, and equal teacher-training programs. The backdrop of this particular protest, Frederick Douglass High School, was established in 1883 as the Colored High and Training School and is the second oldest historically integrated high school in the U.S. Prior to desegregation, it was one of only two high schools open to black students. Parren J. Mitchell, brother of Clarence M. Mitchell, Jr., seen here at far left, graduated from Douglass High School in 1940 and in 1970 went on to become Maryland’s first black member of Congress. [Image: Protesting segregated education and teacher-training programs, 700-702 Baker Street, Baltimore, July 1948, Maryland Historical Society, HEN.00.A2-161.]
AUDIO CLIP: Parren Mitchell, Maryland’s first black member of Congress, speaks about his brother, National NAACP lobbyist Clarence M. Mitchell, Jr. and his reaction after reporting on the lynching of George Armwood in Princess Anne, Maryland; the City-Wide Young People’s Forum and Thurgood Marshall; picketing at Ford’s Theatre. (McKeldin-Jackson Oral History Project, OH 8170)
More photographs of this protest by Paul Henderson:
“I love my brother very much as most people know. And to see him that evening at supper – my family ate all together – to see him not be able to eat because of that…
And the thing that I guess upset me most was that I didn’t know what a lynching was. I was a little child.
Whatever the thing was that had hurt him so badly, the fact that he was hurt, really started sparking my interest in this.
Then years ago, it must’ve been in the late 30s, early 40s… there was something in Baltimore known as the City-Wide Young People’s Forum and I remember my brother Clarence taking me there and I was young… but it was a fascinating experience to see black artists, black educators come and lecture, sing.
Out of that City-Wide Young People’s Forum, if you know, came the first challenge to the segregation of the University of Maryland Law School, the Donald Murray case.
Out of the participants of that Forum was Thurgood Marshall.
A whole host of… new level of leadership came in to the city as a result of that City-Wide Young People’s Forum. Although I was very young at that time, I was old enough to understand exactly what was being said in terms of the discrimination, the racism.
As a result of that, I remember one of my first picketing ventures was at Ford’s Theatre, when at that time black people could only sit in that third balcony.
I remember night after night being there on that picket line. The actual ugliness, the hostility on the part of some of the whites across the picket line or who just annoyed us because we were there… and then the encouragement that came from some of the others.
From that point on, it was just one thing after another. Once you got into it, events were breaking pretty fast.