The National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People is recommitting itself to fight ills still gripping black America as the nation's largest and oldest civil rights organization celebrates its 90th birthday.
"This convention will be celebratory, but we will also be looking back towards the principles we were founded on," said Julian Bond, the NAACP's national board chairman. "It's nice to reminisce, but we can't afford not to keep looking forward."
As an expected 14,000 members trickled into New York for Saturday's start of the six-day conference, NAACP officials mourned Friday's death of James Farmer, founder of the Congress of Racial Equality and the last survivor of the "Big Four" who guided the rights battles of the '50s and '60s.
"The civil rights movement has lost a giant," Bond said.
Farmer, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Whitney Young of the Urban League and Roy Wilkins of the NAACP led many of the marches, sit-ins and freedom rides through the South that transformed America's racial landscape.