Thursday, 29 June, 2017

NAACP president won't be returning as leader

Getty Images Getty Images
Kenny Thornton | 20 May, 2017, 06:32

The sources close to the organization spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak ahead of a Friday conference call by the NAACP.

The NAACP said its call would discuss an "organization-wide refresh and strategic re-envisioning to determine how best to position the organization to confront head-on the many challenges of today's volatile political, media and social climates".

NAACP Chairman Leon Russell and Vice Chairman Derrick Johnson told the New York Times the group needed to push back more effectively against Trump on issues such as voting rights, public education, environmental policy and the criminal justice system.

NAACP President Cornell Brooks speaks on the eve of President Trump's inauguration outside Trump International Hotel and Tower in NY on January 19.

Brooks has been the NAACP's leader since 2014 but will not be kept on past June 30, the end of his current term.

Brooks reportedly said he was "baffled" and saddened by the decision.

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These groups and movements include the American Civil Liberties Union, which recently gained wins against President Trump in federal courts, and Black Lives Matters activists, who won private meetings with President Obama as they grew a youth-centered grassroots movement against racism and police violence. "We know that our hundreds of thousands of members and supporters expect a strong and resilient NAACP moving forward, as our organization has been in the past, and it remains our mission to ensure the advancement of communities of color in this country", said Russell.

Brooks reacted to the news with Twitter posts. He served as President of the Florida State Conference of Branches of the NAACP from 1996-2000, after serving for fifteen years as the First Vice President. "Beyond that, I can't point to any substantive reason", he said.

Explaining the choice to replace Brooks, Russell and Johnson didn't identify a particular thing that Brooks had done wrong - or even one thing that the NAACP, as a whole, had been doing wrong.

Brooks was arrested earlier this year in Alabama at a protest against the nomination of Jeff Sessions as attorney general. "It was a challenge to be both an NAACP president and somebody who was engaged in the streets".

The NAACP has been around for 108 years, and is credited with historic social justice victories against segregation, separate but equal schooling and voter suppression.

Randolph M. McLaughlin, a law professor at Pace University who has studied civil rights movements, said he hoped the organization - founded in 1909 when Jim Crow was still rampant throughout the South - would thrive.

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