This Day in Black History: Oct. 23, 1947

The NAACP petitions the United Nations to redress racial discrimination in the U.S.

Posted: 10/23/2012 08:00 AM EDT

In the 1940s, African-Americans, or coloreds, as they were then known, were repeatedly victims of myriad kinds of racial discrimination, from senseless lynchings to everyday indignities such as inadequate housing, employment, educational and voting opportunities.

On Oct. 23, 1947, the NAACP, led by W.E.B. DuBois, sent a petition to the United Nations titled "An Appeal to the World," to call attention to rampant acts of racial injustice against people of color. 

"We appeal to the world to witness that this attitude of America is far more dangerous to mankind than the Atom bomb; and far, far more clamorous for attention than disarmament or treaty," the document stated.

It also noted that not only were American Negros at risk but also people of African decent visiting the U.S.

“Most people of the world are more or less colored in skin; their presence at the meetings of the United Nations as participants and as visitors, renders them always liable to insult and to discrimination; because they may be mistaken for Americans of Negro descent," the document stated.

Unfortunately, the U.N. rejected the appeal.

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(Photo: Courtesy Library of Congress)

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