The National Bar Association is an African-American organization. Here is information from their Web site:
During the first quarter of the 20th century, twelve African-American pioneers with a mutual interest in, and dedication to justice and the civil rights of all, helped structure the struggle of the African-American race in America. George H. Woodson, S. Joe Brown, Gertrude E. Rush, James B. Morris, Charles P. Howard, Sr., Wendell E. Green, C. Francis Stradford, Jesse N. Baker, William H. Haynes, George C. Adams, Charles H. Calloway and L. Amasa Knox conceived the National Bar Association (NBA), formally organized in Des Moines, IA on August 1, 1925.
When the NBA was organized in 1925, there were fewer than 1,000 African-American lawyers in the nation, and less than 120 belonged to the Association. By 1945, there were nearly 250 members representing 25% of the African-American members of the bar. Over the past 75 years, the NBA has grown enormously in size and influence.
Today, the NBA Board of Governors formulates the Association’s policies. The Board consists of the following: officers (president, president-elect, four vice presidents, secretary and treasurer; twelve regional directors; five former NBA presidents; seven at-large representatives; seven affiliated chapter representatives; one representative from each of the twenty-one substantive legal sections and one from each of the nine special interest divisions. Between the regular meetings of the Board of Governors, the Executive Committee, which is composed of the NBA officers and seven board members, functions on behalf of the Board. From the national headquarters in Washington, DC, an executive director serves as chief operating executive and supervises daily operations. The National Bar Association Magazine, the official publication of the Association, mainly facilitates communication between members, staff and others. Finally in 1984, the NBA purchased its official headquarters at 1225 11th Street, NW Washington, DC 20001.
Objectives of the National Bar Association
The objectives of the NBA “…shall be to advance the science of jurisprudence; improve the administration of justice; preserve the independence of the judiciary and to uphold the honor and integrity of the legal profession; to promote professional and social intercourse among the members of the American and the international bars; to promote legislation that will improve the economic condition of all American citizens, regardless of race, sex or creed in their efforts to secure a free and untrammeled use of the franchise guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States; and to protect the civil and political rights of the citizens and residents of the United States.”
History of the National Bar Association
Legions of African-American lawyers affiliated with the NBA ushered in the rule of law through the turbulent 1920’s and 1930’s, R.D. Evans, for example, who later became a member of the NBA, tried the first case in Waco, Texas to prevent the Democratic Party from forbidding “colored people” to vote in election primaries in 1919.
From the 1920’s through the 1950’s, African-American lawyers such as the Honorable James A. Cobb, T. Gillis Nutter, and Ashbie Hawkins fought the famous segregation case of Louisville, and the Covenants case of The District of Columbia. Early NBA pioneers S.D. McGill, R.P. Crawford, and J.L. Lewis fought to have sentences of execution stayed in the Florida case popularly referred to as the “Four Pompano Boys.” Wherever there was a fight to wage in defense of the rights of Blacks and poor people, the NBA was there.
In 1940, when the number of African-American lawyers barely exceeded 1,000 nation wide, the NBA attempted to establish “free legal clinics in all cities with a colored population of 5,000 or more.” The NBA was ahead of the “War on Poverty” programs of the 1960’s, which gave birth to federal legal aid to the indigent. Members of the NBA were leaders of the pro bono movement at a time when they could least afford to provide free legal services and before poverty law became profitable.
When the Supreme Court outlawed school segregation in Brown v. Board of Education the NBA was only 25 years old. This decision culminated a long struggle by African-American lawyers. Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American United States Supreme Court Justice, and United States District court Judge Constance Baker Motley, the first African-American female federal judge, are two outstanding jurists who helped make Brown v. Board of Education a pivotal case in American Civil Rights history. Through continuing service, the NBA has become known as America’s legal conscience.