The NAACP has signed a letter of intent to move its national headquarters to Washington, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Monday.
The civil rights organization agreed to relocate in the city’s municipal office building at the corner of 14th and U Streets in Northwest Washington after a remodel. The NAACP’s move to Washington means its national headquarters will be leaving Baltimore, where it has called home for decades.
“A new home in Washington will allow us to not only fully participate in the growth of this great city, but to also amplify the voices of the Black people as we fight for the crucial policy changes and economic empowerment needed in communities across the country,” said Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP.
The move is part of a larger shift the group began in 2017 to be more responsive in the political landscape.
The letter of intent is an early step in what’s expected to be a process that could last a long time, Marc Banks, a group spokesman said. The organization will likely make the move anywhere from 5 to 10 years from now.
The group moved from the Northwest part of Baltimore to downtown in February, according to the Baltimore Sun.
Its employees are currently working remotely as the coronavirus pandemic rages across the U.S., Banks said.
Its eventual destination in D.C., opened in 1986, is the Frank D. Reeves Center of Municipal Affairs. Reeves, a lawyer and civil rights activist who worked for the NAACP when he was part of the team that argued the landmark Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education.
Bowser called the Reeves Center’s location “iconic and culturally significant” and said the U Street Corridor has long connections with the NAACP’s history.
The Washington NAACP bureau helped push forward the integration of the U.S. Armed forces, the passage of the Civil Rights Acts of 1957, 1964, and 1968 and 1965’s Voting Rights Act, the release said.
“As we continue fighting for change and working to build a more fair and just nation,” Bowser said in the statement, “we look forward to welcoming this iconic civil rights organization to Washington, D.C.”