top of page

The NAACP in Berks County: A Tradition of Excellence - Woven With Words


Lauren Balogh


The NAACP Reading Branch has a long history and strong influence on Berks County and beyond.  Chartered in the early 1920s, the NAACP has remained a powerful voice for minorities in the Berks community.  Through discrimination cases and conflicts with hate groups like the KKK, the NAACP’s Reading office has united the African American community and tried to protect it from further exploitation.  The NAACP has created a community within a community, designed to nurture its members and their accomplishments.


Past presidents of the NAACP have been leaders in the African American community and have made Berks County a more diverse, welcoming place for all minorities.  These past leaders include:


  • Steve McCracken fought against intolerance and discrimination in Berks County.  He sought to increase positive race relations while dealing with hate group conflicts.  McCracken initiated the Berks African American History project which constitutes this book.


  • Ira L. Thompson sought to get the Reading branch of the NAACP involved with other social improvement groups, such as the Council of Social Agencies and the Fellowship House.  He also increased awareness of the organization within the community and increased the membership of this branch five-fold in his four years as president.


  • Arthur Templeton, Jr. was an active force African American political circles and state and national political groups.  He fought to pass the State Fair Housing Law, which would allow African Americans more housing rights in the state of Pennsylvania.  He remained active in the African American community long after his presidency ceased.


Today, the NAACP in Berks County seeks to increase its voice in local politics and businesses.  Its members hope that local students will learn their history.  Most of all, the NAACP, Reading branch hopes that children will be motivated to become a positive influence in their community and the world beyond.


Back to Main

bottom of page