In 1908, a deadly race riot rocked the city of Springfield, eruptions of anti-black violence – particularly lynching – were horrifically commonplace, but the Springfield riot was the final tipping point that led to the creation of the NAACP. Appalled at this rampant violence, a group of white liberals that included Mary White Ovington and Oswald Garrison Villard (both the descendants of famous abolitionists), William English Walling and Dr. Henry Moscowitz issued a call for a meeting to discuss racial justice. Some 60 people, seven of whom were African American (including W. E. B. Du Bois, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, and Mary Church Terrell), signed the call, which was released on the centennial of Lincoln's birth.
Echoing the focus of Du Bois' Niagara Movement for civil rights, which began in 1905, NAACP aimed to secure for all people the rights guaranteed in the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the United States Constitution, which promised an end to slavery, provide equal protection of the law, and the right for all men to vote, respectively. Accordingly, the NAACP's mission is to ensure the political, educational, equality of minority group citizens of States and eliminate race prejudice. The NAACP works to remove all barriers of racial discrimination through democratic processes.
The national office was established in New York City in 1910 as well as a board of directors and president, Moorfield Storey, a white constitutional lawyer and former president of the American Bar Association. Other early members included Joel and Arthur Spingarn, Josephine Ruffin, Mary Talbert, Inez Milholland, Jane Addams, Florence Kelley, Sophonisba Breckinridge, John Haynes Holmes, Mary McLeod Bethune, George Henry White, Charles Edward Russell, John Dewey, William Dean Howells, Lillian Wald, Charles Darrow, Lincoln Steffens, Ray Stannard Baker, Fanny Garrison Villard, and Walter Sachs. Despite a foundational commitment to multiracial membership, Du Bois was the only African American among the organization's original executives. He was made director of publications and research and in 1910 established The Crisis, the acclaimed publication of the NAACP.