Crittenden County NAACP officers resign
National organization takes over state chapter
By JOHN RECH
Crittenden County NAACP officers resigned in the wake of turmoil in the national and state levels of the organization and braced themselves for another legal battle with the national office. The state organization failed to field candidates for it officer election in September. The national organization appointed an administrator to oversee state functions while embroiled itself in two controversies striking at the integrity of the country’s oldest civil rights organization.
The four county officers tendering resignation included President, Shabaka Afrika; Vice President, Rubye Johnson; Secretary, Jennifer Robbins; and Treasurer, Alicia Whitley.
Afrika explained the reason for the decision of the local officers. The county unit had won in an 11 year legal battle with the national group, ultimately prevailing in the Arkansas Supreme Court. Along the way the courts held the NAACP in contempt three times regarding court orders in its dealings with the local group. Afrika said community work could be better accomplished without the national apparatus which he claimed had become corrupt.
“We wanted to resign
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because of behavior of national organization with regards to its dysfunction and corruption,” said Afrika. “A lot of people at the top are resigning. The things we want to do can be done without NAACP.”
State NAACP of_cers, including past President Frank Shaw did not run for re-election and no other candidates ran for of_ce. The NAACP appointed a Level II Administrator, James Gallman, to see to the state affairs. Confusion abounded when Gallman made conicting statements about the purpose of the administrative oversight.
In an exclusive interview with The Evening Times, Gallman said he was aware of the 11 year legal battle with the CCNAACP and that his appointment as administrator was to make sure state operations were proper. Gallman then denied the statement to Shaw.
“The board decided the state conference isn’t operating properly under the constitution and bylaws at the state and national level,” said Gallman. “It’s obvious there was some things that the Arkansas conference was not abiding in and carrying out, In that case and administrator is appointed to make sure things are followed in the proper way.”
Gallman spoke directly about the Crittenden County unit before its of_cers resigned.
“I am not aware of anything that needs corrected with the Crittenden County NAACP,” said Gallman. “I am aware of the events over the past 11 years there. I am here to make sure each unit follow the rules and regulations and want to make sure that every group is fairly treated with access to committees and so on.”
When Shaw approached Gallman about his statement he heard denial.
“He said, I do not know why there was a need or requirement for a Level II administrator for the state NAAACP,” said Shaw. “Surely the NAACP knows why it appointed an administrator.”
The county unit won a six _gure settlement from the NAACP after the protracted legal case stemming from the its 2010 chapter election which former state president Dale Charles attempted to supplant. The NAACP later removed Charles from of_ce. What will happen to the remaining court ordered funds and county unit treasury?
“We’ve informed the NAACP of our resignations,” said Afrika. “We will have that discussion with the NAACP and the court, and I expect federal court. All our records, agendas, minutes, letters, our legal stuff was scanned to jump drives. No local unit should be at war with its national organization. We do not want to be part of this anymore. It’d be moral and _duciary irresponsibility to send in money for memberships to a corrupt organization. We consider our relationship with state and national organization a hostile relationship. We wounded them and exposed serious _nancial corruption.”
The NAACP found itself on the defensive in two scandals, one for sex harassment and the other over the legitimacy of a newly created NAACP.
A College Field Secretary Jazmyne Childs accused former North Carolina NAACP Second Vice President Rev. Curtis Gatewood of sexual harassment. NAACP President Derrick Johnson never answered Childs’ ‘Me Too’ letter. He responded with both a denial of having copies of her email, and removed her membership. Childs _led a $15 million lawsuit against the NAACP.
Former NAACP board member Dr. Ernest Johnson was also suspended. His sanction came on the eve of an NAACP election in which he sought of_ce on the national board. In his suit Dr. Johnson challenged NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson’s authority to suspend his membership after creating a ‘new NAACP’, called the NAACP Empowerment Program. Dr. Johnson, a Lifetime Diamond Member, challenged the legitimacy of the new group and President Johnson’s authority to suspend.
Afrika summarized the perceived top to bottom breech of trust with the NAACP which led to county of_cers to resigning.
“That’s what NAACP President Derrick Johnson does,” said Afrika. “He suspends without ever holding a hearing. That’s what happening.”