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100 years on, the NAACP notes its accomplishments and challenges

The nation has elected a black man as president, but that hasn't erased deep-seated racism or economic inequalities.

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More than a century ago, W.E.B. Dubois predicted "the color line" would be the problem of the 20th century.

This week as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) kicks off its centennial celebration in New York, an African American sits in the White House. That instills pride in many blacks and is a testament to Mr. Dubois, a founding member of the NAACP, and his belief that education and opportunity can open the promise of this nation to anyone, regardless of race.

But a duality persists. President Obama's election has not erased deep-seated racism in pockets of the nation or the glaring economic inequities that are the legacy of slavery and which prompted the founding of the NAACP, the nation's oldest and most influential civil rights organization.

Almost half of African-American and Latino students don't finish high school on time. Black unemployment remains twice that of whites. And young blacks with no criminal record are far more often to end up in jail than young whites. That has prompted the NAACP's leadership to pledge on this 100th anniversary to redouble the organization's effort to improve education and reform the criminal justice system.


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