Davenport NAACP Branch Officers, 1936

The Davenport chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People held an election of officers on January 3, 1936. Mr. N. Taggart of 1026 Bridge Avenue was elected president, Mr. J. Roberts of 1122 Ripley Street was vice president, Mr. V. Gooding of 1209 Harrison Street was secretary, and Mr. E. Harris of 1609 Judson Street was treasurer.

In the mid-1930s, the NAACP campaigned for the Costigan-Wagner anti-lynching bill. They wrote letters to the newspaper and to the U.S. congressmen for Iowa, held membership drives and sold buttons to raise money for legal counsel. They had programs at Bethel A.M.E. Church and Third Baptist Church.

Who were these local Civil Rights leaders? What other organizations did they belong to? What happened after they left office?

Newton Taggart was born on June 11, 1894, in Abbeville, South Carolina. He came to Davenport in 1915 and opened a tailor shop called Quality Cleaners on 224 W 4th Street. He was a member of Mt. Zion Third Baptist Church. Mr. Taggart died while serving as president of the Davenport branch of the NAACP on July 17, 1937, and is buried at Oakdale Cemetery.

Joshua Roberts was born August 21, 1898, in Davenport to Alexander and Sarah Olivia (Jones) Roberts. He married Odessa Thompson on August 6, 1923, at Bethel A.M.E. Church. The couple had 6 children: Earl (born in 1924), Joshua, (born in 1926), Flora (born in 1928), Bernard (born in 1931), William (born in 1939), and Howard (born in 1944). They lived at 1123 Ripley Street. Mr. Roberts worked as a janitor of the 3rd-floor council chambers at City Hall from April 23, 1934, until 1969. He was a member of the Hiram Lodge 19 AF & AM. Joshua Howard Roberts died May 19, 1975, and is buried at Oakdale Cemetery.

Vincent Gooding was born July 13, 1913, in Clarence Missouri to Sherman and Pearl (White) Gooding. The family moved to Davenport in 1916. Vincent married Hazel Luella Doolin on March 1, 1936, in Davenport. The couple had 2 children: Frances Lucille (born in 1939) and Virgil Allen (born in 1940). Mr. Gooding started working at the Rock Island Arsenal when WWII broke out and retired in 1982 after 38 years. Vincent Gooding died November 8, 2007, at the Clarissa C. Cook Hospice in Bettendorf and is buried at Pine Hill Cemetery.

Ernest Harris was born March 23, 1894, in New Orleans, Louisiana to Henry and Lucy (Rossette) Harris. He married Louise Lawes in New Orleans on June 21, 1920. The couple had 4 children: Ernest (born in 1921), Clyde (born in 1922), Lois (born in 1924), and Enid (born in 1926). He was commander of Marshall Brown American Legion Post. Ernest Hume Harris died December 25, 1980, at St. Luke’s Hospital and is buried at the Rock Island National Cemetery.

(posted by Cristina)


  • NAACP Records – Davenport Branch, 1915-1939 (photocopies from the Library of Congress collection)
  • “Colored Group to Present Program at Church Friday.” The Daily Times, February 11, 1937: 6
  • “Newton Taggart, Tailor, Leader of Negroes, Dies” Davenport Democrat and Leader, July 18, 1937: 8
  • “Personality Profile: A Janitor Who Is Better Known Than Some Officials.” Democrat-Times, January 26, 1958: 3D
  • “Joshua Roberts; City Hall Figure.” Quad-City Times May 20, 1975: 4
  • “Obituaries: Ernest Harris.” Quad-City Times, December 29, 1980: 5
  • “Reflecting on nearly nine decades in Davenport.” Quad-City Times, July 11, 2003: A4
  • “Obituaries: Vincent Gooding.” Quad-City Times, November 11, 2007: C5

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