The Case for Black With a Capital B



The Boston NAACP Opens Its New Doors

by Talia Whyte

The Boston branch of the NAACP reopened its offices in the Mall of Roxbury May 19 before a crowd of elected officials and longtime supporters. After receiving $60,000 in donation, volunteer redevelopment by CD Construction and Suffolk Construction companies and reduced rent from the landlord, the new offices are ready to serve the community. However, as State Rep. Byron Rushing told the crowd, the architecture of the Mall of Roxbury itself represents the history of racial injustice in Boston.

“This space is actually pretty ugly, and black people didn’t have any say over this space when it was built,” Rushing said. “This is why it is important to have this office here.”

May 19 also would have been the eighty-seventh birthday of Malcolm X, another coincidence that represents the legacy of black social activism in America. However, the NAACP’s future is still up in the air.

As discussed in the video, there are many African-Americans who believe that the NAACP’s structure seems to be stuck in the 1960s civil rights era and, thus, not relevant with today’s organizing needs. It’s not just a generational issue; it is also a resource issue. Up until recently, people would take their grievances to the NAACP or the Urban League because these organizations had the resources to rally people around a cause, like media outreach, political clout and legal assistance, and were able to gain traction and results.

However, this has all changed. Today, everyone has access to resources to support their causes. It is as simple as starting up an online petition, fundraising on Kickstarter, rallying people on Facebook or creating a compelling YouTube video. The recent campaigns for Jena 6, Troy Davis and Trayvon Martin were all first highlighted by blacks using blogs and Twitter long before the mainstream media and elected officials paid attention. What is the point of going to one of these legacy civil rights organizations when you can start a revolution by yourself?

It seems like the Boston NAACP branch is trying to make amends on the generational and resource issues. They recently spoke out about the racist comments made on Twitter about Joel Ward, a black hockey player for the Washington Capitals. Their new voter education initiative is pretty innovative. Anyone can call 1-866-MY-VOTE-1 or go to their website thisismyvote.org to find out more about voting rights and what the NAACP is doing to protect those rights.