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NABJ Style Guide N-O
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NAACP: National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was founded Feb. 12, 1909 by a multiracial group of activists, who called themselves the National Negro Committee. Its founders were Ida Wells-Barnett, W.E.B. DuBois, Henry Moscowitz, Mary White Ovington, Oswald Garrison Villiard and William English Walling. From its beginning, the NAACP's mission has been to improve the legal, educational and economic lives of black people. It is headquartered in Baltimore. Acronym is acceptable in all references.

NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc.: Founded in 1940 under leadership of Thurgood Marshall, the Legal Defense Fund provides legal assistance to poor black citizens. It was originally affiliated with the NAACP, but it has been an entirely separate organization since 1957, with a national office in New York and regional offices in Washington and Los Angeles. Its nearly two dozen staff lawyers are assisted by hundreds of cooperating attorneys across the nation. Use Legal Defense Fund on second reference.

Nation of Islam: Religious movement established during the Great Depression in Detroit in 1930 by Wallace D. Fard, a salesman. Louis Farrakhan now leads the organization, in which key leaders have included Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X. The Nation of Islam's teachings are of Black Nationalism and separatism. Many of its beliefs and practices differ from the Orthodox Islam Church. The Nation of Islam produces The Final Call, an internationally circulated newspaper and operates its National Center and headquarters in Chicago. Commonly known in the black community as simply The Nation, use full name of organization in news copy. The Fruit of Islam is the organizations official security force, providing bodyguards for its leaders and others.

National Coalition of 100 Black Women: Founded in 1981, a nonprofit organization with 7,500 members in 62 chapters in 25 states. Its mission is developing socially conscious female leaders committed to furthering equality and empowerment for black people, improving their neighborhoods and communities and serving disadvantaged youths.

National Negro League: Professional baseball league for blacks founded in 1920 by pitcher Andrew Rube Foster. During Jim Crow era, Major League Baseball excluded blacks so they formed their own teams with blacks in all key roles. The Negro League was widely successful and supported in black communities. Other black leagues followed, including Eastern Colored League and Southern Negro League. Jackie Robinson integrated Major League Baseball in 1947. Last black clubs folded in the early 1960s.

National Urban League, The: Founded in 1910, the Urban League is a nonprofit, community-based organization that seeks to help black Americans secure economic self-reliance, parity and civil rights. It is headquartered in New York City and has professionally staffed affiliates in 100-plus cities nationwide.

Negro: Use African American or black. Do not use to describe a person of African descent. Do not use Negress. (See African American, black and race.) Term acceptable in organization names and historical references, for example, National Council of Negro Women or Negro National Anthem. The word Negro was adopted from the Spanish and Portuguese and first recorded in the mid-16th century. It remained the standard term between the 17th-19th centuries and was used by prominent black American campaigners such as W. E. B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington in the early 20th century. Since the Black Power movement of the 1960s, however, when black was favored as the term to express racial pride, Negro and related words such as Negress were dropped and now are out of date, even offensive in some cases.

nigger: Racial slur; a contemptuous term for a black person. The word nigger was first used as an adjective denoting a black person in the 17th century and has had strong offensive connotations ever since. It remains one of the most racially charged words in the language. Ironically, it has acquired a new strand of use in recent years, being used by black people in referring to other black people. Also known as the n-word. Nigga is a variation of nigger that also has gained traction in recent years. It is used frequently in entertainment culture, especially in rap lyrics and comic stand-up routines. Some people consider it altogether different than nigger, considering it a term of affection or just neutral. Many still consider it a slur, no matter the spelling. Do not use unless there is an extremely compelling reason to do so, and a supervisor approves it.

niggardly: Means stingy or miserly. It is sometimes perceived as insulting because it sounds like the offensive word nigger. Be careful with usage.


100 Black Men of America Inc.: National organization of black men aiming to improve quality of life in their communities. The group started in New York in 1963 when a few black men met to explore ways of making a difference. Over time, the group adopted the name 100 Black Men Inc. as a sign of solidarity. In 1986, it became a national entity and was renamed 100 Black Men of America Inc. and now boasts more than 10,000 members in more than 100 chapters, with 100,000 youths annually participating in mentoring and development programs.

Oreo: Disparaging term for someone deemed to have shunned his or her black culture and who acts white. Referring to the cookie, means being black on the outside, but white on the inside; latter-day version of pejorative Uncle Tom. Do not use. (See Uncle Tom.)

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