In the early 1940s, the NAACP devised a legislative agenda that addressed the most pressing concerns of black Americans: lynching, segregation, debt peonage, voting rights, criminal justice, equitable funding for public education, equal employment opportunities, and equal access to union membership. In the last fifty years, this civil rights program has generated a "Civil Rights Establishment" that now embraces Latinos, women, the aged, and the disabled, and includes government officials concerned with minority and women's issues and an impressive array of professional and academic talent.

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