The Cincinnati branch of the National Association for the Advancement
of Colored People (NAACP) was established in 1915 with only 15 to
20 members. At the time, the organization was considered radical,
and members were often afraid of losing their jobs if it was discovered
they belonged. The group had no office and met in members’ homes.
One of its earliest successes was the elimination of the separate
school system for African Americans. It also achieved breakthroughs
in employment and public accommodations by relying on the power of
the courts and public persuasion. By the mid-sixties, membership had
grown into the thousands and demonstrations and sit-ins became useful
tools for accomplishing goals.
Page 1 of
Coney Island Report, July 6, 1961 NAACP Cincinnati Chapter Papers, 1959-1981, Mss 774, Box 5, Folder 14 Cincinnati History Library and Archives, Cincinnati Museum Center
A number of prominent African Americans in Cincinnati have been leaders
in the local chapter. Wendell
P. Dabney was the chapter's first president. Theodore
Berry served as president of the Cincinnati branch from 1932 to
1946. Rev. L. Venchael
Booth was chairman of the 1954 membership drive. In 1981 Marian
Spencer became the first woman president of the Cincinnati chapter.
Buying Campaign flyer, 
NAACP Cincinnati Chapter Papers, 1959-1981, Mss 774, Box 33, Folder
Cincinnati History Library and Archives, Cincinnati Museum Center
The chapter continues to work for racial equality with all means at
their disposal, most recently with a voter registration campaign.
In announcing the campaign March 2003, NAACP Cincinnati President
Calvert H. Smith said, “if the deceased warriors in the fight
for freedom for African Americans could return to this city today,
they would literally be amazed to discover that we are still confronted
with some of the very same problems they thought they had conquered
some 40 to 50 years ago.”
To learn more about the Cincinnati Chapter of the NAACP,
consult the following resources:
Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Cincinnati Chapter
The collection consists of 88 boxes and 1 oversized folder. It contains
the minutes, correspondence, office files, committee reports, pamphlets,
newsletters, clippings and other materials of NAACP’s Cincinnati
Chapter from 1959-1981. For More information, a detailed register for
the collection is available in the Library.
Marian A. Spencer Papers,
This collection primarily covers Spencer’s term on Cincinnati
City Council from 1983 through 1985 and material from her 1983 campaign.
There is also a small amount of material from Spencer’s service
as member and officer of the Cincinnati branch of NAACP. It includes
correspondence, committee files and minutes, clippings, newsletters
and other printed matter collected by Spencer during her career. The
collection covers such topics as school desegregation, urban renewal
and housing, among many others. For More information, please consult
the collection register available in the Library. View catalog record
M. Berry Papers, 1939-1965
This collection of Ted Berry's papers pertain to his work concerning
housing, race relations, politics, the NAACP and other areas. It includes
information about Avondale and Kenyon-Barr. For More information, a collection
register is available in the Library. Request slip
Sources Used for Historical Sketch:
“NAACP Here Sorry It’s Still in
Business,” Post-Times Star, November 26, 1965,
Marian A. Spencer Papers, 1954-1985, Mss
888, and finding aid. Cincinnati History Library and Archives, Cincinnati
Silver Anniversary, 1952-1977: Dr. L. Venchael
Booth. General B B725v, Cincinnati History Library and Archives,
Cincinnati Museum Center.
"A Civic Giant Passes [Ted Berry],"
Cincinnati Enquirer, October 16, 2000.
Registration Drive," Cincinnati Post Online Edition,
March 18, 2003 (This is no longer available online.)