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Civil Rights and Labor History Consortium / University of Washington

Mapping NAACP chapters 1912-1977

by Josue Estrada and James Gregory

These maps and charts show the geography of NAACP chapters across six decades. They allow us for the first time to appreciate the vast grassroots network of this premier civil rights organization. The NAACP grew in three waves. Founded in 1909, the organization claimed 3 branches in 1912 then surged to nearly 400 chapters with about 90,000 dues paying members in 1919-1920. Membership fell in the 1920s and rebuilt slowly in the 1930s, then exploded in the context of World War II and the Fair Employment Practices initiative. The Cold War cut into membership in the early 1950s, but as the southern civil rights strategy unfolded after 1954, membership surged again and the number of branch organizations passed the 1,000 mark. Membership and chapter numbers increased still further in the 1960s. Consult the maps to see this in geographic detail.(See introduction about NAACP and additional maps and data). These maps are hosted by Tableau Public and may take a few seconds to respond. If slow, refresh the page.

Move between six maps and charts below

Sources:N.A.A.C.P. Annual Reports; The Branch Bulletin, and branch directories. Most are available in digital copies from Hathi Trust. Some are from ProQuest History Vault Papers of the NAACP.

Research and data compilation: Josue Estrada, Arianne Hermida

Maps: James Gregory

Additional NAACP maps and charts

Click to see map and photos
Branch activities year by year 1912-1923 and database of branches 1924-1964

Six maps and databases provide fuller information about branch activities, officers, and membership. The first map shows branch activities in the first decade and a half, up to 1923. In addition, here are maps and searchable databases of branches, officers, and membership numbers for all available years 1912-1964.

NAACP database of branches, officers, membership 1912-1964

This interactive database accompanies the NAACP maps and charts.

Reading "Along the Color Line"
NAACP Reports from Black America in 1916 and 1917

By Tyler Babbie

In its early years, The Crisis, the NAACP’s monthly magazine edited by W.E.B Du Bois, sought to survey events of significance in African American communities across America. In a regular feature, initially called "Along the Color Line," Du Bois culled news from correspondents and published more than 100 short news reports each month under headings that included education, industry, political, church, military, personal, social uplift, and music and art. Here we map and display more than 1,800 entries published in 1916 and 1917. They provide a sampling of activities in several hundred Black communities during those pivotal years and tell us even more about what Du Bois’ wanted NAACP members to know about those activities..