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Battle for the Soul of the NAACP

The Sunday Times also contained an article entitled "N.A.A.C.P. Chief's Meeting Upsets Board." It seems Dr. Ben Chavis convened a "secret" meeting without informing his board. Invitees to the meeting read like a "who's who" of black intellectuals, activists and politicians, all somewhat left of the NAACP's traditional stance, including:

Alton H. Maddox, Esq.
Maulana Ron Karenga, founder of US ("a radical nationalist group")
Angela Davis ("former communist; acquitted of kidnapping/murder charges")
Lenora B. Fulani, a former Presidential candidate
Rev. Calvin Butts, pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem
Cornel West, professor of philosophy at Princeton
Ossie Davis
Ruby Dee

Obviously, the NAACP has been recently taken to task for reaching out to Minister Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam. "According to a copy of the invitation, sent March 18, one of the topics for discussion was how to 'provide a context for input and access of Pan Africans, progressives and nationalists into increased levels of membership and active participation within the N.A.A.C.P. at national and local levels."

The Times also said:

"Beyond their not being informed, some board members said they considered several of those invited as examples of out-of-date extremists whose presence could sap the N.A.A.C.P. of political credibility, especially coming so soon after Mr. Chavis's call in February for a meeting of prominent blacks that would include Louis Farrakhan, head of the Nation of Islam.

"'On one hand, here we have the embracing of Louis Farrakhan, which in itself was an extreme move,' said Joe Madison, a board member and a Washington radio talk shoe host. 'Now, a secret meeting with a confidential letter and list of these old radicals of a bygone era who are invited. We have to be about raising money and funding programs for people who are in need of help and depend on the N.A.A.C.P. '

"Mr. Madison went on: 'It's as if Ben Chavis has handed the conservative right of this country a hand grenade and pulled the pin himself. This is all they need to heap criticism on us and the programs that we have been involved in."

Hmmm... I've never been a member of the NAACP, but, again, it seems that Chavis is interested in having the organization serve as an umbrella for the entire black community, not just the more conservative side it has always served.

Where do I sign up?

(See #6 for a more detailed article on Chavis and the NAACP.)

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Meanderings 1.04 -- April 11, 1994