The NAACP Willingboro & Vicinity Branch
The branch was founded by the late Dr. Charles Gibson of Burlington, and the late Mr. Arthur Waples, Sr. of Camden. The executive committee consisted of black and white members determined to make a difference. The branch was established in 1940 in Burlington City. One of the earliest branch concerns developed from an incident in Burlington City, in 1943, when two Black youth were sent to a drug store lunch counter by Dr. Gibson and Mr. Waples. The youth were turned away. When confronted by branch officers requesting that the drug store accept Blacks, the owner refused and closed the lunch counter. Dr. Gibson and Mr. Waples organized a demonstration and the owner reopened the lunch counter, accepting Blacks, on June 10, 1943.
In 1963, Mr. Willie R. James was elected President. Under his leadership, the branch membership increased to 3000. He is founder and president of the Burlington County Community Action Program. He organized demonstrations resulting in desegregation of public schools, banks, corporations and other businesses. The organization became an advocate for migrant workers and introduced a resolution, through the National NAACP Convention, calling on Congress to introduce legislation to protect the rights of American farm workers. Since this time, there have been many presidents that have made needed contributions to our communities. In 1998, Rev. James was elected again as president. He resigned in 2007 and is recognized as President Emeritus of the Willingboro & Vicinity Branch of the NAACP.