Vindication of San Diego NAACP President Francine Maxwell

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A photo of Francine Maxwell
Francine Maxwell, pictured here at the NAACP San Diego Branch 2019 Freedom Fund Dinner. Photo: Courtesy of NAACP San Diego Branch

On the day of her father’s burial, Mrs. Francine Maxwell was met with a letter and email of suspension from Derrick Johnson, National President of the NAACP. The timing was symbolic of the insensitivity and lack of appreciation for the work done by Mrs. Maxwell is restoring the local chapter to a level of respect and support that it has not enjoyed in decades.

By Dr. John E. Warren, Publisher
The San Diego Voice & Viewpoint

People who have worked with Mrs. Maxwell locally and some nationally are asking ‘What did she do?” Local daily media in reporting on this event by its choice of words. Ignore that Mrs. Maxwell was given a letter of “suspension” by Mr. Johnson but the local daily headline exchanged the word “suspension” for the word “Ousted”

Let’s look at what clearly has been a denial of “due process” by the one African American organization who has based its more than 100 years of struggle for Civil Rights on due process and fairness. What has been the unstated sin of Mrs. Francine Maxwell? What rules did she break? Was she given a list of allegations by the national organization, which is required under its own Constitution and Bylaws? Was she presented with a list of “complaints” alleging violations of the organization’s Constitution and, or Bylaws, with an opportunity to respond? Did she receive such a document from the organization’s Grievance Committee, with a request for a response?

Following a response, did the Grievance Committee make a recommendation to the full Board of Directors to take an action against Mrs. Maxwell. Of course, the answer appears to be, “No”, to all of the above. What then was the real sin of this lady who has brought so much credibility to the local chapter without so much as ever receiving a personal call or communication from the national president. There have been no allegations of financial impropriety.

As a matter of fact, Mrs. Maxwell has raised more money and grown the membership of the local branch. Here is the real issue. The National President of the NAACP, Derrick Johnson, playing politics with the NAACP, endorsed former San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Cindy Marten for U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education. This was done without so much as a phone call to the local San Diego NAACP chapter to see Marten’s standing in the African American and local community. Such a call would have caused Mr. Johnson to give second thought to the decision he made to endorse Marten without talking to anyone locally.

Mrs. Maxwell and other members of the San Diego community, many of whom are not African American, initiated a campaign against the Marten nomination. Even after the objection to her appointment received national attention, as reflected on CNN and the many Republican members of the U.S. Senate who voted against her, Johnson never spoke to his local membership or its leadership. It was at this point that Derrick Johnson made national politics more important than his organization’s memberships.

The appointment of Mr. Alphonso Braggs, National NAACP Board Member from Hawaii, as Administrator over the San Diego’s branch placing it in receivership without any allegations in writing of misconduct, but with what appears to be sole interest in getting control of the San Diego Branch’s finances, presents an additional cloud of suspicion over this whole matter. When who considers that, statewide, the California NAACP is carried by the California Franchise Tax Board as being in a State of “forfeiture”, there appear to be more serious questions than those thrown at Mrs. Maxwell. The current statewide suspension of the California NAACP is a national and state problem and not a branch or “unit” problem.

Local daily media, in reporting on this matter, made a big issue out of Mrs. Maxwell being the second local NAACP president “in a role to be unseated by NAACP leaders”. The reasons for former San Diego Branch president Clovis Honore’s suspension, likewise, were not made known. The reality is that he spoke out about a charter school issue without “permission”, reprimand, or warning. This was at a time of many questions about the state leadership of the NAACP.

Other media have reported that the action against Mrs. Maxwell had to do with a contested election which took place a year ago. It should be noted that those contesting the election did not follow the NAACP Bylaws by requiring that such complaints over an election must be filed within 30 days of the election. This was never done nor was there ever a letter to Mrs. Maxwell or the Branch Executive Committee contesting the election. There was however a member who sought to have her family members vote multiple times, which is not allowed by anyone in any election.

When Administrator Braggs showed up for his meeting with San Diego’s local Executive Committee and leadership, he too did not present a list of allegations. His single focus was getting control of the branch and its finances.

Mrs. Francine Maxwell has served this community on a multiplicity of issues from schools to police conduct to budgets and local government. She does not deserve to be labeled as “Ousted” with the words of how old the national NAACP is as if its age validates its bad conduct.

Please share this story with anyone really interested in what is happening as opposed to the story running in the local daily newspaper. By the way, the National NAACP Constitution and Bylaws required that actions like those taken by the national against the local Branch be published in local newspapers. We assumed that since this is an African American organization, such notice would also include local African American newspapers. All calls and attempts to communicate with the National NAACP office have been ignored for months.


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