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Clara Sipprell, 31 Oct 1885 - 27 Dec 1975
Walter Francis White, 1 Jul 1893 - 21 Mar 1955
Gelatin silver print
Image/Sheet: 25.3 × 20.3 cm (9 15/16 × 8")
Mat: 55.9 × 40.7 cm (22 × 16")
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; bequest of Phyllis Fenner
Restrictions & Rights
Born Atlanta, Georgia
Walter White headed the NAACP from 1931 to 1955. During these difficult years, he directed an unsuccessful struggle for an anti-lynching bill and implemented a long-range campaign of legal actions culminating in the 1954 Supreme Court decision outlawing discrimination in the nation's schools. White's tenure at the NAACP saw it through the Depression, when membership and donations declined precipitously and it faced a strong challenge from the Communist Party-USA, which actively competed for African American members. After World War II and during the beginning of the Cold War, White remained a staunch anti-Communist and stressed the need for racial justice in America to compete with the Soviets in winning third-world allies. Due in part to White's urging, Harry Truman ran on a civil rights platform in the 1948 presidential election.