New Rochelle Branch of NAACP Celebrates 100th Anniversary
NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- August 19, 2023 -- Members of the New Rochelle community and guests gathered at Five Islands Park in New Rochelle to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the New Rochelle N.A.A.C.P. Minister Mark McLean, President of the New Rochelle Branch, and officers were there to greet all as they arrived for the barbeque and day of fun! The entire community was invited to come out to enjoy and celebrate this milestone in the New Rochelle Branch’s history.
Chartered in 1923, Dr. Leon Scott served as the first president of the Branch, and many dynamic leaders have continued to lead the organization. President McLean stated “We are made up of people who love our community and are committed to justice. The NAACP has always been in the forefront of fighting for our community.”
The New Rochelle NAACP was a principal in the landmark school desegregation case involving Lincoln School, which was the first court-ordered school desegregation case in the North. Lincoln School was closed and later demolished in 1965. The Branch has been involved in city-wide voter registration drives, protest marches following police shootings, unfair and discriminatory hiring practices, and many civil rights issues which have surfaced in the community.
While it was a day to celebrate, NAACP Branch members were on hand with voter registration forms and membership applications to join the branch. Seven year old Dylan Smith was signed up by his mother to become a member of the NAACP Youth Council, welcoming him as a third generation of his family to belong to the oldest and largest civil rights organization in the nation.
The sun was shining and DJ Danny of New Rochelle had the ladies on their feet under the pavilion line dancing to lively music, while the younger children played bean bag toss and other games in the park. The multi-generational cookout was fun for all, from the youngest to the older members of the community.
Former Branch President, Dr. Carla Woolbright, spoke to the crowd and shared a brief history of the Branch and how it came to be in New Rochelle. She reminded all that some of the same issues which were the impetuous for creating the Branch back in 1923 still exist today, including voter suppression, racism, and discrimination in education, health care and education. She urged all to join the NAACP as the struggle continues and everyone needs to be involved in the fight for justice and the protection of our civil rights, and the gains that the NAACP has made over the years.
The New Rochelle NAACP will culminate its Centennial Anniversary on November 5, 2023 at the 55th Freedom Fund Dinner, where members of the community will be honored for their contributions to New Rochelle. The event will be held at the Greentree Country Club, 538 Davenport Avenue, New Rochelle, NY. For additional information or tickets, you may contact the New Rochelle NAACP at (914) 576-4997 or NewroNAACP@aol.com.
Story & photos by Yvonne Bert.