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(1928) Beatrice Morrow Cannady Speaks to the NAACP

When in June 1928, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) chose to hold its 19th annual conference in Los Angeles, California, it was the first time the Association’s meeting was held in the West. W.E.B. DuBois was the major speaker. He was followed by a then relatively unknown young attorney from Portland, Oregon, Beatrice M. Cannady. Part of Cannady’s Speech to the Conference on June 28 appears below. 

Master of Ceremonies, Officers, and members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, friends:

Our heart is thrilled as we look into your illuminated faces knowing full well that you are sharing with us the joy that is ours and the whole Pacific Coast in having this conference, which is representative of the noblest service of the finest men and women of both races in America, to meet in this, your fascinating City of Angels.

This organization which is doing more than any other organization in America to break down the barriers of race color and class prejudice is the only child of a woman and while this woman is biologically white- yet her long years of laboring for and with the Negro entering so fully into the things which effect his life in America that she has become psychologically a Negro.

Some few years ago it was our pleasure to read in a leading American magazine, a criticism on one of her books which she had written on some phase of Negro life in which the noted critic concluded: It would be expected that she would take such a view point, being a Negro herself.

Therefore we do ourselves and the Association honor when we honor our beautiful and beloved Mary White-Ovington, the founder and mother of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

We shall not recount the lives and exploits of the many notable Negro women of several generations who have done so much for their race and country. We shall rather turn our attention to the program of the future which Negro women must prosecute in order that the work of those

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