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NAACP's Ambitious Beginnings Took Root In Mass.

Feb. 12 marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the NAACP.

At the dawn of the 20th century, a group of black and white people — men and women, Jews and Gentiles — issued "a call for a national conference on the Negro question."

One of the NAACP's co-founders was W.E.B. Du Bois, who was born in the western Massachusetts town of Great Barrington and studied at Harvard University.

"I changed from studying the Negro problem," said Du Bois in a 1961 interview, "to propaganda, to letting people know just what the Negro problem meant — in what colored people were suffering and what they were kept from doing."

Du Bois is one of a number of local connections to the birth of the NAACP. Soon after its founding, Boston opened the first recognized branch of the national organization.

Historian Kerri Greenidge has written about those early days in a book called "Boston's Abolitionists," and she teaches black history at Suffolk University.

WBUR's Bob Oakes spoke with Greenidge on Morning Edition.

This program aired on February 12, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

Bob Oakes Twitter Host, Morning Edition
Bob Oakes has been WBUR's Morning Edition anchor since 1992.

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