“I Put My Hand Over His”

June 25, 2012 / By Mildred Roxborough, NAACP Member

Let me tell you my favorite NAACP memory.

It was 1955 and I was in the Mississippi Delta with the late Medgar Evers, collecting signatures for a petition to integrate local public schools.

A middle-aged man came to the front table where I was seated. He said that he wanted to make sure his child had the opportunity to be educated: to read, write, and get a job. As he took the pen to sign, I realized he needed help. 

I put my hand over his and together we traced his name. When we were done, I could see from the emotion on his face that this moment was a major life event – it was the first time he had ever signed his own name.

I’ve never forgotten this man. He left an indelible imprint in my mind. His desire to help his son is a reason that I’m an NAACP member, and why I’m asking you to become a member today:


I’ve been a member of the NAACP since 1937. I was nine and I wrote to Roy Wilkins, who had become editor of Crisis Magazine following W.E.B. Dubois, asking if I could sell the magazine. He obliged.

In the 75 years since those days selling magazines door to door, I’ve made the NAACP a vital part of my life. That man in Mississippi trying to help his son get an education exemplifies the struggle so many people go through to do right by themselves and their families. As NAACP members, we put our hands over theirs and help them do what they can’t do alone.

The challenges we faced in 1937 and 1955 still exist today. Once again, we find ourselves fighting for equal voting rights. Parents still wonder how their children will receive an adequate education. Our justice system remains neither blind nor fair. Millions still need our help.

It’s never too late or too soon to help fight the inequalities that exist today, or to have a life-changing experience or two. Help by becoming an NAACP member today:


Thank you, and I hope to work with you as an NAACP member in the future.

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