Today marks the centennial of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The linkage to Lincoln was more than coincidental. Mary White Ovington, one of the founders, wrote in 1914: “In the summer of 1908, the country was shocked by the account of the race riots at Springfield, Illinois. Here, in the home of Abraham Lincoln, a mob containing many of the town’s ‘best citizens,’ raged for two days, killed and wounded scores of Negroes, and drove thousands from the city. Articles on the subject appeared in newspapers and magazines. Among them was one in the Independent of September 3rd, by William English Walling, entitled “Race War in the North.” She and others heard Wailing’s call to address the issue, and it was decided “that a wise, immediate action would be the issuing on Lincoln’s birthday of a call for a national conference on the Negro question.”
I will recommend to you the timeline of the organization’s history. You may also be interested in reading Chairman Julian Bond’s 2008 NAACP Convention speech, where among other things, he castigates virtually every US President of the 20th Century, save for LBJ, on the issue of race. I note this only in the context of those who believe that “freedom” was achieved in 1865 or shortly thereafter.
It feels to me, though, that the group is probably more known these days for its Image Awards (airing again tonight on FOX, feting Muhammad Ali) than for its import in the civil rights movement. The current president lays out the goals for the next century.
This is also the 200th birthday of Abraham Lincoln. Has there been anyone in the last 1900 years written about more often?
So, I was interested to note that the Library of Congress will digitally scan “The Heroic Life of Abraham Lincoln: The Great Emancipator” as the 25,000th book in its “Digitizing American Imprints” program, which scans aging ‘brittle’ books often too fragile to serve to researchers. The program is sponsored by a $2 million grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The Library, which has contracted with the Internet Archive for digitization services, is combining its efforts with other libraries as part of the open content movement. The movement, which includes over 100 libraries, universities and cultural institutions, aims to digitize and make freely available public-domain books in a wide variety of subject areas.
All scanning operations are housed in the Library’s John Adams Building on Capitol Hill. Internet Archive staff work two shifts each day on 10 “Scribe” scanning stations. The operation can digitize up to 1,000 volumes each week. Shortly after scanning is complete, the books are available online at www.archive.org. Books can be read online or downloaded for more intensive study. The Library of Congress is actively working with the Internet Archive on the development of a full-featured, open-source page turner. A beta version, called the Flip Book, is currently available on the Internet Archive site.
With Malice Toward None: Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Exhibition