#NAACPBombing Reminds Us Of Troubling Civil Rights Intimidation of the Past

January 7th 2015

ATTN: Staff

A bomb went off outside an NAACP office in Colorado Springs, Co. earlier this week.

The makeshift bomb detonated Wednesday morning outside the building, where there is also a hair salon. Although the device detonated, it failed to ignite a cannister of gasoline that was next to it. No one was injured. Denver's FBI office is looking for a suspect described as a white male in his 40s. He drove away in a white truck that had its license plate covered. 

Why is there a hashtag for this?

The hashtag #NAACPbombing is trending. Activists say the mainstream media has not covered this incident. As a result, they are trying to create awareness of the fact that this bombing occurred.

What is the NAACP?

NAACP flag

The NAACP stands for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. It's one of the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organizations. Started in 1909, the NAACP went through the brunt of the Civil Rights movement. It's been the target of domestic terrorism on multiple occasions, including the murder of NAACP leader Harry T. Moore, whose house in Florida was bombed in 1951.

The NAACP fought across the country and in Washington to protect black people from white supremacists. One of its key aims for decades was to enact legislation that would allow federal authorities to prosecute lynching. Lynching was used as a tool to terrorize black populations into submission. To educate people about lynching, the NAACP famously hung a flag outside its New York office after a lynching had occurred somewhere in America. The flag read, "A Man Was Lynched Yesterday." Stunningly, getting an anti-lynching bill through Congress was basically impossible as Southern Democrats blocked the lynching ban at all turns. 

Why does everyone keep saying this bombing reminds them of the 1950s and 1960s?

Because the bombing of black churches and the homes of black civil rights leaders was a common tactic of white supremacists during the Civil Rights era. For some older Americans, this headline takes them back to the days when activists fighting segregation or trying to register black voters operated under a fear of these attacks.

Furthermore, everyone is on edge right now. We had months of protest over the incidents where white police officers killed unarmed black men. We had the murder of two police officers in New York by a man who claimed allegiance to that protest movement. We've also seen an increase in hate groups since 2000 and during the Obama administration, as detailed by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

So, even though none of this may end up being related to the bombing in Colorado, it sure feels tied together.