The NAACP Awards was first founded on August 13, 1967. These awards were meant to uplift and promote African American diversity, along with showing movements that fell behind civil rights and social justice. One quote from the NAACP website that stood out to me the most was, “As the nation’s oldest civil rights organization, we remain a fixture in fighting for civil rights and social justice for all. Through our annual awards we highlight the achievements of individuals and our branches, trailblazers who are actively on the front lines driving progress in business, law, education, and other sectors. In honoring their work and commitment, we aim to further the legacy of our organization, while championing future generations of civil rights leaders.”
When it comes to the Awards and Medals, there was a multitude that were created when the Award Ceremony was first founded. The Spingarn Medal was first instituted in 1914 by J.E Spingarn – then NAACP Chairman of the Board of Directors – this gold medal was awarded for the highest or noblest achievement by an African American during the preceding year or years. The Thalheimer Award was the NAACP’s top award given to branches and units for outstanding achievements. The honors have been given annually since 1944 from a grant from Dr. Ross Thalheimer, a John Hopkins University instructor in philosophy and a University of Washington instructor in philosophy and Sociology. The Montague Cobb Award was established to honor individuals and organizations that have made a significant impact in the field of health. This award shall be given annually in recognition of the legacy of Dr. W. Montague Cobb, who served as the President of the NAACP from 1976 to 1983. This also included the Activist of the Year Award, which was created through the NAACP Image Awards, which nationally recognized youth and adult members of the NAACP for the work they do to improve their community, educate the masses, identify the problems, and lead the revolution to fix them. No matter how small or grand the revolution, the values and commitment of these individuals are essential to elevating the legacy and prominence of the NAACP’s mission.
There are also Legal Awards, such as the Foot Soldier in the Sands Award, which was given to attorneys for their generous contribution of legal expertise to the NAACP on a pro bono basis. The honorees are typically nominated by an NAACP Unit or by the NAACP Legal, where the attorney has assisted the NAACP on a National Level. Along with the Juanita Jackson Mitchell Award for Legal Activism, which was created for Mrs.Juanita Jackson Mitchell, the first African American woman admitted to the Maryland bar, was a teacher and civil rights activist who served the NAACP as president of the Baltimore City Branch. Each year, the NAACP awards the Juanita Jackson Mitchell Legal Activism Award to an NAACP Unit for exemplary legal redress committee activities. Finally, the William Robert Ming Advocacy Award was created for William Robert Ming was born on May 7, 1911, in Chicago, Illinois, and was one of the architects of the strategy leading to the historic decision in Brown v. Board of Education, and other landmark decisions. The Ming Award was created by the NAACP National Board of Directors in April 1974 and is awarded annually to a lawyer who exemplifies the spirit of financial and personal sacrifice that Mr. Ming displayed in his legal work for the NAACP.
The NAACP held its first Image Awards in 1967. The NAACP Image Award is an annual awards ceremony presented by the U.S.-based National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to honor outstanding performances in film, television, music, and literature. The intersectionality of African America is part of the intent of the awards categories. Honorary awards (similar to the Academy Honorary Award) have also been included, such as the President’s Award, the Chairman’s Award, the Entertainer of the Year, and the Hall of Fame Award.
The 54th annual NAACP Image Awards will be broadcasted live on Saturday, February 25, 2023, at 8:00 PM ET / 5:00 PM PT on BET. This event celebrates the outstanding achievements and performances of people of color across more than 80 competitive categories spanning film, television + streaming, music, literature, and podcasts. The 2023 Nominees consist of Beyonce for Renaissance, Kendrick Lamar for Mr.Morale & the Big Steppers, Chris Brown, Tems, Drake, Mary J. Blige, Angela Bassett, Quinta Brunson, Viola Davis, Zendaya, and many others.
The NAACP Awards was interesting to learn about, and hopefully you, dear reader, learned something new too! Even though this article will most likely come out after the NAACP Award ceremony, maybe go back and watch some recaps!