Our Branch History
San Antonio has an exciting, challenging history. Since its infancy, it was a major cattle center and became a leading military and supply center during World War I. The city enforced Jim Crow laws that condoned lynching and demeaning segregation of black and white citizens. It was from this type of background that a group of people from the black community received the inspiration to do something about the atrocities that were growing in number.
Mr. J. A. Grumbles, a black man, read about the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He was impressed and inspired by the work being done by this group in other states. It was his idea that the NAACP might be the catalyst needed to bring about some justice to the San Antonio black citizens. He called together a group of people whom he felt had leadership ability and concern for the conditions that were allowed to exist. The following people were at the initial meeting: Mr. J. A. Grumbles, Mrs. Carol Brooks, Mrs. Edna Billups Carter, Mr. J. D. Lowery, Sr., Mr. Harold Tarver, Mr. Cal Burton, Mrs. F. Hooks, Rev. Lazarus Richards, and Dr. J. T. Walton.
In 1918, the San Antonio Branch NAACP was organized with 503 members, and secured real property situated at Hackberry and Center Streets to locate the Community House (present site of Carver Cultural Center). Major emphasis was placed on the increased employment of black women.
In the 1930’s the core thrust was the importance of the vote. In the 1940’s the focus was on the problems of racial discrimination and abuse. The driving force in the 1950’s was eliminating racial segregation in the public schools.
The struggle continued to eliminate employment discrimination in the 1960’s, human rights in the 1970’s, and racial equality and justice in the 1980’s.The struggle continued and in 1987 the Branch established a job bank and a newsletter to communicate with the membership. In 1993, the Branch participated in the March on Washington. Programs were enhanced to eradicate employment discrimination and increase youth leadership through a Youth Academy, participation in ACT-SO, the Percy Sutton Scholarship, and the Back to School & Stay in School initiative.
In 2004, one of eleven Branches selected to host a racial profiling seminar, and with the AFL-CIO sponsored the “Immigrant Bus Riders” as a traveler from California to Washington, D.C.
In 2006, we provided assistance to displaced citizens of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita to return to New Orleans and vote. The Branch presented three $1,000 scholarships to students to attend Historically Black Colleges.
In 2007, the Branch worked diligently to alleviate police brutality in San Antonio and vicinity. We remain a part of the Black and Jewish Dialogue Group, and have fostered a working relationship with LULAC, ACLU, Neighborhood First Alliance and others who desire to protect the civil rights for all citizens.