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We celebrate our hardworking activists and local branches while providing enriching career experiences for young professionals to sustain our work to improve Black lives.

As the nation's oldest civil rights organization, we remain a fixture in fighting for civil rights and social justice for all. Through our annual awards we highlight the achievements of individuals and our branches, trailblazers who are actively on the front lines driving progress in business, law, education, and other sectors. In honoring their work and commitment, we aim to further the legacy of our organization, while championing future generations of civil rights leaders.

Spingarn Medal

First instituted in 1914 by the late J.E. Spingarn–then NAACP Chairman of the Board of Directors– this gold medal was awarded for the highest or noblest achievement by an American Negro during the preceding year or years.

Thalheimer Award

The Thalheimer Award is the NAACP's top award given to branches and units for outstanding achievements. The honors have been given annually since 1944 from a grant from Dr. Ross Thalheimer, a Johns Hopkins University instructor in philosophy and a University of Washington instructor in philosophy and Sociology.

Montague Cobb Award

The Montague Cobb Health Advocacy award was established to honor individuals and organizations that have made a significant impact in the field of health. This award shall be given annually in recognition of the legacy of Dr. W. Montague Cobb, who served as the President of the NAACP from 1976 to 1983.

Activist of the Year

NAACP Image Awards® nationally recognizes youth and adult members of NAACP for the work they do to improve their community, educate the masses, identify the problems, and lead the revolution to fix them. No matter how small or grand the revolution, the values and commitment of these individuals are essential to elevating the legacy and prominence of the NAACP's mission.

Legal Awards

Foot Soldier In the Sands Award

This award is given to attorneys for their generous contribution of legal expertise to the NAACP on a pro bono basis. The honorees are typically nominated by an NAACP Unit or by the NAACP Legal, where the attorney has assisted the NAACP on a National Level.

Juanita Jackson Mitchell Award for Legal Activism

Mrs. Juanita Jackson Mitchell, the first African American woman admitted to the Maryland bar, was a teacher and civil rights activist who served the NAACP as president of the Baltimore City Branch. Each year, the NAACP awards the Juanita Jackson Mitchell Legal Activism Award to an NAACP Unit for exemplary legal redress committee activities.

William Robert Ming Advocacy Award

William Robert Ming was born on May 7, 1911 in Chicago, Illinois and was one of the architects of the strategy leading to the historic decision in Brown v. Board of Education, and other landmark decisions. The Ming Award was created by the NAACP National Board of Directors in April 1974 and is awarded annually to a lawyer who exemplifies the spirit of financial and personal sacrifice that Mr. Ming displayed in his legal work for NAACP.

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