Hartford NAACP 100 years image

SATURDAY, JUNE 24, 2-4pm
Hartford History Center
3rd Floor, Hartford Public Library
500 Main Street, Hartford 06103

The Greater Hartford Branch of the NAACP is celebrating 100 years with a panel of its living presidents. Stories will be shared about its founding and how the NAACP has impacted the Greater Hartford region with its social justice work through the years. Panelists include Dr. Sedrick Rawlins, James W. Patterson, Ula Dodson, Barbara Wiggins, Russell Williams, Joan Harrison Gibson, and the Honorable Thirman L. Milner. The panel discussion will be moderated by Andrea Comer, Executive Director, Connecticut Business & Industry Association (CBIA) Education Foundation.

The Greater Hartford NAACP was founded in October 1917 when local leaders and national NAACP officers W.E.B. DuBois, Mary White Ovington, and James Weldon Johnson traveled from New York City to Hartford at the invitation of Mary Townsend Seymour, a leader in the city’s growing African American community.  The branch’s founding was an integrated undertaking, with people of all creeds, races, and genders working for the attainment of a society of equality, security, and freedom for all.

Greater Hartford NAACP Vice President Annette Shack has been conducting much of the research on the branch at the Hartford History Center. The partnership will continue as the history center will produce a short video series using interviews with the living presidents on how the Greater Hartford NAACP has impacted the community and impacted the lives of the living presidents during their tenure. This series will become available online on the history center’s digital repository this fall.

“The founding of the Greater Hartford branch is a major chapter in not only Hartford’s history, but also the history of organizing for civil, human, and voting rights,” said Greater Hartford NAACP President Muhammad Ansari. “Though much work has been done, now more than ever we need to stay focused on educational equality and criminal justice reform, issues that continue to be at the forefront of our community.”

The branch will mark its centennial at its annual Freedom Fund dinner, which will be held on September 22, 2017, starting with a reception at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m. at the Hartford Hilton Hotel, 315 Trumbull Street in Hartford.