The Cincinnati branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was established in 1915 with only 15 to 20 members. At the time, the organization was considered radical, and members were often afraid of losing their jobs if it was discovered they belonged. The group had no office and met in members’ homes. One of its earliest successes was the elimination of the separate school system for African Americans. It also achieved breakthroughs in employment and public accommodations by relying on the power of the courts and public persuasion. By the mid-sixties, membership had grown into the thousands and demonstrations and sit-ins became useful tools for accomplishing goals.
A number of prominent African Americans in Cincinnati have been leaders in the local chapter. Wendell P. Dabney was the chapter's first president. Theodore Berry served as president of the Cincinnati branch from 1932 to 1946. Rev. L. Venchael Booth was chairman of the 1954 membership drive. In 1981 Marian Spencer became the first woman president of the Cincinnati chapter. (source: Cincinnati History Library and Archives)