The more than 300 members of the Aiken Branch of the NAACP have strengthened their pursuit of fighting for progress by expanding throughout Aiken County.


The organization announced the expansion on Sunday as part of the group’s 95th anniversary celebration at Wesley United Methodist Church in Aiken.


All members in the county will now be under one roof with the organization altering its name to the Aiken County Branch of the NAACP, a move that should help to grow itsreach throughout the community.


Phillip Howell, president of the local chapter, said at the celebration that the organization’s move should help to create a bigger pool of people to draw from in the community.


North Augusta and Wagener originally had charters to be branch chapters, but will now be incorporated into the larger, county-wide chapter, allowing others throughout the area to attend meetings and be voting members.


The local chapter has helped to fight inequality and work for racial fairness as well as contributed to the well-being of the community. The group’s Back to School/Stay in School program has aimed to reduce drop out rates and increase the number of skilled students graduating from high school. Additionally, the organization has worked closely with the Aiken Department of Public Safety in developing the Safe Communities initiative, designed toward making a commitment to fighting crime in Aiken.By bringing in residents from different areas in the community, the new branch can gain a greater perspective and continue the group’s efforts to benefit the area and work to improve the lives of local residents.


The local branch has been pursuing that mission for nearly a century and by expanding its reach, it will strengthen those goals for future generations.