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On this date in 1925, the National Bar Association (NBA), formally organized. It is the nation's oldest and largest national association of predominately African American lawyers and judges.
During the first quarter of the 20th century, twelve Black pioneers with a mutual interest in and dedication to justice and the civil rights of all, advanced the struggle of African Americans for justice in America. The NBA was formally organized in Des Moines, Iowa. It had been conceived by George H. Woodson, S. Joe Brown, Gertrude E. Rush, James B. Morris, Charles P. Howard, Sr., Wendell E. Green, C. Francis Stradford, Jesse N. Baker, William H. Haynes, George C. Adams, Charles H. Calloway, and L. Amasa Knox. The mission of the NBA is "to advance the science of jurisprudence, uphold the honor of the legal profession, promote social intercourse among the members of the bar, and protect the civil and political rights of all citizens of the several states of the United States."
When the NBA was organized, there were fewer than 1,000 Black lawyers in America, and less than 120 belonged to the Association. By 1945, there were nearly 250 members representing 25 percent of the Black members of the bar. Over the past 72 years, the NBA has grown enormously in size and influence.
The NBA is the nation's oldest and largest national association of predominately Black lawyers and judges. In the 21st century, it has 87 affiliate chapters throughout the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Africa, and the Caribbean, and represents a professional network of over 17,000 lawyers, judges, educators and law students.