The NAACP at 100

As it celebrates its 100th year, the NAACP is at a crossroads. The Daily Beast's Benjamin Sarlin talks to up-and-coming black leaders about how the organization can re-invent itself for a new generation.

Library of Congress

Library of Congress

THE EARLY YEARS

NAACP co-founder W.E.B. Du Bois and other members at the 20th-annual convention in 1929.

National Archive / Newsmakers

A PRESIDENTIAL FIRST

Harry Truman became the first president to address the NAACP convention in April 1940 in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. "We must strive to advance civil rights wherever it lies within our power," Truman told the crowd.

New York Times Co. / Getty Images

JUSTICE FOR ALL

As special counsel for the NAACP, Thurgood Marshall (shown in 1955) argued Brown v. Board of Education before the Supreme Court, which struck down "separate but equal" schooling. In 1967, Marshall became the first African American to serve on the Supreme Court.

Grey Villet, Time Life Pictures / Getty Images

YOUNG KING

In 1958, four years after Brown v. Board of Education, student Ernest Green, met with NAACP head Mrs. Lucius C. Bates and Rev. Martin Luther King.

Horace Court / AP Photo

A CHANGE IS GONNA COME

Delegates outside the 53rd NAACP convention in Atlanta, leading picketers to protest segregation in local restaurants and hotels.

Paul Schutzer, Time Life Pictures / Getty Images

A NEW FRONTIER

John F. Kennedy reading a speech in car with NAACP members during the 1960 Democratic National Convention.

Max B. Miller, Fotos International / Getty Images

A NEW GENERATION

The Jackson 5 attend the NAACP Image Awards in Los Angeles in November 1970.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo

AN INDEPENDENT VOICE

Presidential candidate John Anderson addressing the 71st-annual NAACP convention in Miami Beach 1980. Anderson argued that if blacks really wanted to teach Republicans and Democratic a lesson, they would vote for an independent candidate, him, in the upcoming November election.

Seth Perlman / AP Photo

THE GREAT COMMUNICATOR

President Ronald Reagan receives a hug from Margaret Bush Wilson, chairwoman of the board of the NAACP, after he addressed delegates at the 1981 national convention in Denver.

Bettman / Corbis

GENERAL HONORS

General Colin Powell—the first and only African American to serve as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff—is presented with the NAACP 1991 Spingarn Award, the organization's highest award of honor, at the national convention in Houston. Presenting the award are Executive Director Benjamin Hooks (left), Chairman Dr. William Gibson, and President Dr. Hazel Dukes.

Alan Greth / AP Photo

HAIL TO THE QUEEN

Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley kisses Oprah Winfrey as Benjamin Hooks, executive director of the NAACP, Stedman Graham, and Dr. William F. Gibson, chairman of the NAACP, look on during opening remarks of the national convention in 1990.

Gene J. Puskar / AP Photo

MOVED TO TEARS

NAACP President Kweisi Mfume after giving an emotional speech to the opening session of the NAACP's 88th-annual convention in July 1997.

Tim Sloan, AFP / Getty Images

THANK YOU

President Bill Clinton addresses the 91st convention in July 2000 in Baltimore. "I wanted to come here one last time," Clinton said, "to say thank you, a simple but deep thank you, for your support and your prayers and your friendship over all these years."

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

GETTING TO KNOW YOU

At an NAACP forum for presidential candidates in 2003, Sen. Bob Graham, Vermont Governor Howard Dean, Sen. John Edwards, and Rev. Al Sharpton share a laugh.

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

SEEKING FORGIVENESS

Democratic presidential candidate Senator Joe Lieberman apologizes to NAACP President Kweisi Mfume for not attending the 2003 presidential candidate forum earlier in the week.

Win McNamee / Getty Images

A CONVENTION DIVIDED

President George W. Bush gestures to NAACP Chairman Julian Bond while a protester shouts from the audience during Bush's first address to the NAACP at the national convention in 2006.

Scott Olson / Getty Images

YES I CAN

Barack Obama, then a presidential candidate, addressing the 99th-annual convention of the NAACP in July 2008.