The Afro-Academics, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics ( ACT-SO ) is a major youth initiative of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Founded in 1978, by the renowned author and journalist, Vernon Jarrett, ACT-SO provides a forum through which African American youth demonstrate academic, artistic, and scientific prowess and expertise, thereby gaining the same recognition often reserved for entertainers and athletes.
ACT-SO "The Olympics of the Mind " is rooted in the firm conviction that African-Americans can succeed and compete at the same or superior levels as their counterparts in classrooms, boardrooms and laboratories across this nation and aboard. The objective of ACT-SO is to prepare, recognize and reward African-American youth who exemplify scholastic and artistic excellence. The ACT-SO goals are:
NAACP Branches and Youth and Colleges units conduct annual competitions for students in grades 9 - 12 in NAACP branches throughout the country. Participating branches hold local competitions in the categories of Entrepreneurship, Science, Humanities, Performing and Visual Arts. The top winners from the local competitions then compete against the winners from other cities at the national ACT-SO finals held during the NAACP's Annual Convention.