Did you know that the Albuquerque chapter of the NAACP was established in January 1915 – nine years after the national organization was founded in 1906?
Though many notable Albuquerque residents served and continue to dedicate their time to the NAACP, we want to highlight Mr. Hobart LaGrone, a devoted member and former president of the both the local and state chapters of the NAACP throughout the 1950s and until his death in 1966. Under Mr. LaGrone’s leadership, the NAACP Albuquerque Branch welcomed nationally and internationally known African American scholars and artists, namely Dr. W.E.B DuBois, Langston Hughes, and Dr. Ralph Johnson Bunche to speak in town regarding urgent sociopolitical matters. Mr. LaGrone (center) is pictured above in this Albuquerque Journal photo with Dr. Bunche (left of center) from his lecture on the United Nations in May 1952.
A postman by day, Mr. LaGrone’s NAACP work shed light on discrimination and racial justice issues in Albuquerque and New Mexico more broadly. He attended GI Forum meetings, worked with state senators to end school segregation in New Mexico, and was instrumental in spearheading the Albuquerque Civil Rights Ordinance in 1952, to name a few key accomplishments. Just three years before his death, the city honored Mr. LaGrone for his dedication to civil rights causes.
Hobart LaGrone and his brother Oliver, a renowned artist, are two members of a dynamic family we’re currently researching at the museum, though we look forward to learning about more family members and their community in Albuquerque. Look for another post this week on the life and work of Oliver LaGrone.