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NAACP Elmira-Corning Branch

In 1918, Cornelia F. Matthews, an Elmira community leader, was involved in a lawsuit against a real estate company which refused to rent or sell property to “colored people or undesirable foreigners.” In her fight against this injustice she turned to the NAACP for help. They urged her to obtain an official charter and start a local branch. To accomplish this, she needed to gather 100 members.

​​Matthews arranged for Mrs. Addie W. Hutton, an NAACP leader, to visit from New York City and give a presentation to interested people. Hutton spoke about the national organization, its goals, and intentions to a small group at the Bethal A.M.E. Zion Church. Despite the rather low attendance, Matthews was able to obtain the necessary membership, and the branch became officially charted in 1919. 

After 1928, membership in the Elmira NAACP Branch declined, and the branch became inactive. In 1942, in response to systematic discrimination against black women seeking jobs at Bendix-Eclipse, the local chapter was re-established by the membership of the Negro Women’s Progressive Club of Elmira, led by Grace H. Mann. In 1972, the organization became the Elmira-Corning Branch in order to provide aid to flood victims in both cities.

Today the Elmira-Corning Branch participates in national programs directed at societal, political and economic problems. Their standing committees consist of Education/Youth, Health, Legal Redress/Criminal Justice, and Political Action. The branch remains committed to promoting equal rights and economic advancement as well as personal well-being for all African Americans.



Advocating for children’s education at the local, state, and federal level, this committee knows how critical academic excellence is to the success and future of children and families.


Mindful that health is a critical issue affecting African Americans, this group collaborates with other national and local health groups. It advocates locally for awareness through public education. It is key to maintaining public and media interest, calling attention to problems, risk factors, and potential resolutions.


Legal Affairs

This committee provides legal advice and representation to the Board of Directors and the President/CEO regarding NAACP activities, thus ensuring the organization’s protection of its legal rights and ability to maintain operations. 


Political Action


This committee puts into action programs that improve the economic, social, and political health of NAACP members and communities.


For additional information about the Elmira-Corning NAACP, visit their website at