In the late 1930s, controversy around the exclusion of African Americans from public
pools sparked the re-activation of many NAACP chapters. This occurred in Cedar Rapids
in the 1940s when African Americans unexpectedly found out they were banned from
swimming in the new Ellis Park pool. In 1942, Viola Gibson, Julia Reed, Robert Johnson,
and others responded by re-activating the Cedar Rapids chapter of the NAACP.