Founding the NAACP

December 9, 2010 in 1920s-30s, Social history

William English Walling, Chairman of NAACP Executive Committee (1910–1911) in 1906 William English Walling was extremely active in the creation and beginning of several groups whose target was to bring women’s rights to the forefront of the nation’s stage. He was a firm believer in equality for all races and genders and showed his willingness to participate in activism designed to spread these ideas to everyone in the United States. Political and social equality for African Americans and women was his main concern. He was born in 1877 in Louisville and died in 1936, so his actions and plans were very progressive for the time period. Also his parents had owned slaves at one time, so for a white man from Kentucky, whose parents formerly owned slaves, really speaks to his character.

William English Walling was one of the co-founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (N.A.A.C.P.) and was very active in the organization for many years. Also In 1903 he founded the National Women’s Trade Union League, which was designed to educate women and keep them informed on trade unions and the positives that they offer for women trying to be independent and destroy the gender barrier that existed in the United States at the turn of the twentieth century. Women had been working in horrible conditions in hospitals and other jobs and the idea of the club was to help teach women how to fight the exploitation that companies were trying to do to women across the country and in Kentucky.

William English Walling, known as English, was a revolutionary in his era. He helped positively influence the lives of thousands of women inside Kentucky and around the United States. At the end of his life he began traveling a lot and while in Amsterdam, Holland, The Netherlands, he died in 1968.

5 responses to Founding the NAACP

  1. I have often wondered if i had been born before the Civil War and raised in the south. Would I have been like William Walling? I think YES of course, i would never have condoned something as evil as slavery.

  2. Men like like William English Walling were few and far between. He reminds me of Ms. “Lukey” Ward.

  3. While I admit that I know very little about the NAACP and its creation, I am surprised to learn that its creation was led in part by a number of white people. I understand that during the early 20th century racial relations between whites and blacks were very strained, but not all people were racist. However, it was very rare to find a white person who was willing to stand up for the civil rights of African-Americans, especially in a “southern” state like Kentucky. As you mentioned, Walling’s family background is one that typically would have led many white men becoming racists. However, Walling was able to form his own ideas on human equality and civil rights which were considered radical at the time.
    Upon further research, I discovered that until 1917, Walling was a member of the Socialist Party of America. This however does not surprise me considering many African-Americans and lower class whites were attracted to the party due to its views on universal equality and civil rights, views that Walling shared as well.
    William Walling is a commendable man and deserves more recognition for his efforts in the African-American civil rights movement as well as the women’s civil rights movement.

  4. William English Walling was a very brave man. The threats and the ridicule he endured must have been nearly more than one person could handle. We as a nation we should be proud to have such a man to help us form the nation we are today.

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