By Dr. John E. Warren, Publisher
A “lynching” has been defined as the illegal killing of a person or persons without due process of law. While most of the lynchings in America have been racial terrorism in nature, with Whites killing Black men, women, and children by this method, it appears that the National NAACP (National Association For the Advancement of Colored People), has moved from fighting such illegal actions to committing them against their own members. According to the Justice Coalition, a coalition of NAACP members seeking redress of the issues of the National Organization illegally taking over branches and state organizations, the National Organization has taken action against no less than 52 branches, chapters, and individuals throughout the country.
Recently, the second president of the City of San Diego NAACP Branch was suspended for a three-year period. The reason given, “She didn’t put the Nationally appointed Administrator of the Branch on the bank accounts”, even though no reason was actually given in writing for the receivership, as required by the National organization’s Constitution and Bylaws. Where there was the filing of a complaint, there was supposed to be a statement of the allegations and the opportunity to respond. This was not done.
Members protested, just as they have done in other states, but to no avail.
It appears that the motivating force is to get hands on whatever dollars have been raised, regardless of the volunteers and tireless hours contributed by local members in support of the organization as a whole. During this whole period of allegations, the San Diego Branch and members of the community repeatedly asked the national office for a list of charges and the opportunity to respond, upon learning of the appointment of the Administrator. There was mention of a special election when no formal complaints were filed within the Constitutional requirements of time, following the last election.
The now former Branch President and Executive Committee members met with the Administrator. They provided answers to all questions raised. No National response, nor response to months-long requests for a hearing until the Grievance Committee, just a few weeks ago, called President Maxwell to a hastily arranged hearing. That hearing excluded local member observation for more than an hour before being told their presence would serve no useful purpose. Mrs. Maxwell was subsequently notified that she has been suspended for three years because she did not put the Administrator’s name on the Branch checking account.
It is interesting that while Mrs. Maxwell’s pleas for Due Process went unanswered; the actions against the North Carolina NAACP Chapter resulted in a Parliamentary Opinion dated December 18, 2021, concerning the North Carolina state election of Officers on October 23, 2021. Please read the following excerpt from that opinion:
“Although the pandemic of COVID-19 initially led many to make exceptions to rules – we must also keep in mind that democracy, dignity, and freedom must be upheld. Using the principles of the democratic processes to educate and take all lawful action to further these objectives include appeal, reconsideration, and repeal of rulings against democratic principles. Those actions must be explained when the organization” seems to counter its ideals.”
Clearly, the San Diego Branch was not afforded the Due Process being given to the North Carolina Branch, when the San Diego issue was supposedly already before the National Organization. Letters and newspaper articles concerning the San Diego Branch were sent to the homes of all the National Board Members as well as Mr. Derrick Johnson, as National President.
It is especially interesting that Mr. Johnson would ignore such concerns as those raised by San Diego and other California Branches when one considers that he was brought under scrutiny in 2013 by the Mississippi Secretary of State for the mingling of funds from his One Voice non-profit organization with that of the Mississippi State NAACP while he was State President. That state audit revealed, according to documents made available at the time by then NAACP member Kathryn Perry, that Mr. Johnson’s 2012 Form 990 for his One Voice charity, paid him $120,000 as Executive Director. The audit also revealed that Johnson received $1.78 million in revenue but had an operating loss of $122,581. That same year, the organization spent $164,500 on travel; $548,684 on salaries; and $539,733 on consultants. While reimbursements were supposedly made to clear things up, one must ask how Mr. Johnson went through this personal ordeal in Mississippi, yet he was not concerned about issues affecting his branch members as National President of the NAACP.
It appears that now might be a good time for the national NAACP to take a close look at its leadership as well as its Board of Directors. Today’s need for the NAACP at all levels of the organization is too great during these difficult times.