The league, also called the National Association, was founded by H. Walter Schlichter of the Philadelphia Giants and the promoter Nat Strong. It originally had five member clubs: the Brooklyn Royal Giants, Cuban Giants, Cuban Stars of Havana, Cuban X-Giants, and Philadelphia Giants. Three of these clubs had been members of the multiracial International League of Independent Professional Base Ball Clubs in 1906, though there was apparently no other connection between the two leagues.
According to newspaper reports, the National Association was "modeled on the lines of the National and American League white clubs." Its organization "was made necessary by the financial results of the season of 1906, when every owner of a colored ball club in this vicinity lost money, due to the exorbitant salaries paid to the players and the keen competition among the various clubs."
The chief aims of the league were "to place colored baseball on a solid business basis and to protect both players and managers and prevent jumping from one club to another, on the slightest pretext, as was done this last season. It is intended to protect the managers from unscrupulous and unreliable managers of independent clubs who engage the colored clubs and unceremoniously cancel the dates at the last moment if so inclined.