The Media Area Branch History
The Media Area Branch NAACP was established in the early 1920’s. The Branch formation was in response to a series of unfortunate incidents that occurred in the Borough. These events began when a white Media High School female was criminally assaulted in the rural section of town near Lima. Because she was attacked from behind, all she saw before fainting was a pair of dark arms. As a result of her story, the white community believed the crime had been committed by a man of African descent, and feelings ran high against the African American population. Young white men began an intensive search for the attacker and forced their way into nearly every Negro home in the Lima, PA area. As was common in the United States at the time, the African American community was defenseless against these lawless intrusions.
In response to the dangers of the situation, community members John E. Jones and Percy O. Batipps, Sr. called on a group of local African American leaders to create a temporary organization for the general defense of the Black population. Those responding were:
Rev. J. L. Link; Pastor of Campbell A.M.E. Church, Media; Rev. H.T. Rider, Pastor of Trinity U.A.M.E. Church, Media; Edwin H. Hackley, Playwright; Robert Fields; George E. Sommerville and Ralph Anderson.
A temporary organization was affected. That organization was kept alive, alert, and functioning for 10 years until it was felt that the time was ripe for a permanent organization. During subsequent events, it was established that the young woman’s assailant was an Indian inmate of the Elwyn Training School for the feeble-minded children, thanks to the determined efforts of the late E. Shirley Bordon who was a trustee of that institution and who had suspicion him from the beginning. His conviction in the courts of Delaware County absolved all of our Negro citizens from all blame or guilt. However, the Negro here still smarted under the pang of that experience which possibly could have resulted disastrously by violence against the Negro community.
During the early years of the Branch, it was readily recognized by those who were responsible for the success of the organization that the lack of training and experience was a definite handicap to the prosecution of the Branch work. It was decided to enlist the help of some outstanding personalities who were equipped to give the help which was needed.
Among those who responded were Arthur Faucett, Educator; G. Edward Dickerson, who advised us on legal technicalities; The Honorable Samuel Hart, Pennsylvania Assemblyman; Edward Henry, Philadelphia’s first Black Magistrate; William Pickens, NAACP Field Secretary. While in Media, Mr. Pickens was invited to speak in the Media Public School. There he electrified the faculty and scholars with oratory and facts. His subject was “The Folly of Racial Bias.” We were also successful in securing Dr. Leslie P. Hill (deceased) President of (formally named, Cheyney Training School for Teachers) the school is now called Cheyney University. He spoke on Citizenship Responsibility; J. Passmore Elkington whose speech contained a challenge for a better South Media; Walter White spoke on Duties of the Branches; Roy Wilkins, Thurgood Marshall and Gloster Current spoke on the various aspects of the work of the Association; E. Leroy VanRoden used the subject, Law Observance; Rev. J. Link spoke on Elements that Retard Self; and Rev. H.T. Ryder spoke on the Negro and Ballo. Later on, Milo Manley, a Director of the original FEPC, spoke on Proper Procedure, and Mrs. Dorothy Biddle James spoke on Democracy.
The Media Area Branch continues to make many notable achievements to its credit in its quest for first class citizenships for all minority groups.
John F. Edwards
Clifford I. Moat, Sr.
Rev. Linwood Parson
Dr. Wilma Mitchell
J. Fred Baxter
Dorothy P. Moat
Dr. Marshall Vaughters
Dr. Cecelia Evans
Rev. Edward E. Battle