The Akron NAACP History


The mission of the national Association for the advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.

The Akron NAACP

The NAACP was established in 1909 and is America’s oldest and largest civil rights organization.  It was formed by white and black activists, partially in response to the ongoing violence against African Americans around the country.

In the year 1917, a group of 50 or more interested citizens gathered together to organize the Akron Branch of the NAACP. In 1918 the chapter became nationally chartered.  Mr. “Cap” Herring was elected the first president. The Local branch developed strategies to assist the national office in its efforts to eliminate lynchings.

Through the years the Akron Branch of the NAACP worked tirelessly to promote civil rights objectives. The all-volunteer organization addressed the following issues:

  • The elimination of lynching on a national level.
  • Segregation in the Akron Schools.
  • The increased presence of the KKK in Akron,
  • Discriminatory practices and police brutality.
  • Fair hiring practices in the local fire and police departments.
  • Voter registration, information and mobilization by providing rides to the polls.
  • Quality education for all students.

Over the 100 years, a cadre of leaders supported an agenda of equality of rights for all the citizens of Akron, especially African Americans. The dedication and perseverance of the 28 presidents and hundreds of members ensures the life of the organization for another 100 years.

Past Presidents

Mr. “Cap” Herring1917Rev. Charles Talbert1963
Rev. James H. McMullen1918Miss Mary Holmes1965
Atty. Samuel T. Kelly1921Atty. Edwin Parms1969
Atty. Artee Fleming1928Mrs. Helen Arnold1971
Atty. Emmet Lancaster1930Mr. William McMillan1973
Mr. Hosea Lindsey1932Mr. James Turner1975
Mr. Samuel Shepard1936Rev. G. Lincoln Cadell1977
Mr. Leon Gordie1940Mr. Cazzell Smith Sr.1979
Rev. U.S. Munnerlyn1944Mr. Marco Sommerville       1983
Atty. Samuel Dashiel1948Mr. Eugene Sharpey              1985
Mrs. Esther Spruill1955Atty. John Sharp1987
Rev. William Upshaw1957Rev. Frederick Zak1989
Dr. Wilfred Bozeman1959Mrs. Ophelia Averitt1992
Mr. Willis Shaw1961

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