In 1916, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) mounted the largest campaign in history against lynching and racist mob violence. Focused on the protection of black lives from state-sanctioned violence, the NAACP organized mass demonstrations, advocated for an anti-lynching bill in Congress, and won a landmark criminal procedure decision in front of the Supreme Court. One hundred years later, racial violence has reemerged on the national political scene as the defining civil rights issue in contemporary U.S. politics. Chanting “Black Lives Matter,” activists have taken to the streets in big cities like New York City and small towns such as Ferguson to bring attention to the disposability of black lives at the hands of law enforcement. Numerous scholars have rushed to explain the persistence of racist violence against blacks and have linked it to such factors as discriminatory policing, unresponsive federal institutions, political policies that criminalize poverty, and persisting housing segregation. This top-down analysis is important in shining a light on oppressive institutions but it is only one part of the story. The other is how activists have strategized internally and externally with funders over the meaning of civil rights. Thus, another way of looking at the present situation is: Why does the protection of black bodies from private and state-sanctioned violence remain an unmet challenge for civil rights groups committed to racial equality? A major but under recognized reason, I propose in this article, is directly connected to movement capture–the process by which private funders use their influence in an effort to shape the agenda of vulnerable civil rights organizations.The puzzle is perplexing because throughout the twentieth century, the NAACP has been at the center of the U.S. civil rights movement and racial violence used to be at the center of the NAACP. During the first quarter of the twentieth century, the NAACP firmly established itself as the preeminent civil rights organization focused on the protection of black lives from racial violence. At the time, lynching and mob violence were at the top of the NAACP’s issue agenda since racial violence was believed to be the greatest obstacle that African Americans in the North and South faced to gaining equality in America.
Source: The Price of Civil Rights: Black Lives, White Funding, and Movement Capture – Race, Racism and the Law