Aggie freshman infielder Sobin Roane is safe at home plate. Roane tallied three hits in the win over Towson State on Friday at War Memorial Stadium. Photo by Kevin Dorsey/Carolina Peacemaker.
The North Carolina A&T baseball program did not wait long for its first-ever Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) win. The Aggies earned a “W” on its first attempt Friday night at historic War Memorial Stadium. The Aggies got another big-time performance at the plate from sophomore Sabin Roane before holding off a ninth-inning surge from the Towson Tigers to win 9-8.
The Aggies have won four out of their last five to improve to 7-6 overall and 1-0 in the CAA. The Tigers have lost five out of six to drop to 3-11 overall and 0-1 in league play.
Roane gave the Aggies more of a cushion in the home eighth when he hit an RBI single to right center field to score junior TJ Ash, who reached on an error to give the Aggies a 9-6 lead heading into the ninth. Roane has started the Aggies last four games. In the last three, he is a combined 8-for-12 with three runs scored and two RBI, including a 3-for-4 showing on Friday night.
After Roane’s RBI in the eighth, the Aggies turned to sophomore Xavier Meachem, who has become the Aggies’ closer early in the season. But Meachem, dominant in his first three 2023 appearances, did not get off to a great start on Friday. He opened the frame by walking Towson lead-off hitter James Moses before giving up a single to Casey Bishop.
Meachem then loaded the bases by walking Brian Heckelman. Towson cleanup hitter Bryce Frederick, 3-for-4 on the day with three RBI and two runs scored, stepped to the plate. But Meachem struck him out on a 3-2 pitch for the first out of the inning. The second out of the inning came on an Elijah Dickerson RBI sacrifice fly that scored Moses from third.
Bishop advanced to third on the play and scored on a Meachem wild pitch to get the Tigers to within one, 9-8. But with the go-ahead run at the plate, Meachem earned his eighth strikeout in 4 2/3 innings pitched this season by striking out Jack Lawrence to end the game and earn his third save.
After the Tigers took a 2-0 lead in their half of the first, A&T responded with a five-run home first. With the bases loaded and no outs, junior Tre Williams hit a two-run double to right to tie the game at 2. Junior Anthony Hennings’s RBI sacrifice fly gave the Aggies the lead before Cameran Brantley singled up the middle to score Williams. Ash closed out the scoring for the Aggies in the first with an RBI single, scoring Brantley.
A&T right-hander Connor Blantz settled in despite giving up a run in the third; he eased through the second, fourth and fifth before giving up a lead-off single in the sixth. After getting Lawrence to fly out, RHP Jake Delisi replaced Blantz and retired the final two batters.
But the Tigers took the lead in the seventh thanks to a two-run double by Frederick and an RBI single from Dickerson as the game headed into the A&T half of the seventh with Towson leading 6-5. The Aggies reclaimed the lead in their seventh, highlighted by Brantley’s two-run single to left to give A&T an 8-6 lead before Roane’s added run in the eighth.
Luke Brown (1-1) won in relief, and Bobby Spencer (1-3) was credited with the loss in relief. Brantley went 2-for-3 with three RBI and a run scored. Towson had four players with three-hit games, and Frederick and Dickerson had three RBI apiece.
Stress is a mind and body killer
It has been long known that stress is hard on one’s body. Now, research studies show that stress is also hard on the brain.
Life is to be lived, so the adage goes. How people live life is the difference. Life is not fair. People can be born into difficult, ideal, horrendous, controlling, fantastic or ordinary circumstances. How one handles such circumstances, once again, is the difference. How do people acquire the wisdom, information, life examples or the courage to live their best life?
Stress is defined as the way or manner one reacts or responds to the functions of their body, their life, or their mind including emotional behavior. It is the response life extracts upon all who live. It may be positive or it may unfortunately be negative.
It has been well known that negative stress can take a toll on the heart. Landmark studies have shown how urban stress and the stress of living can affect the heart and thus longevity and quality of life.
New research has recently looked at stress and how it affects cognition, the process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses.
Researchers analyzed data from the REGARDS study: the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke study. This study is impressive because it incorporates a large number of people who represent diverse racial backgrounds. The study administered testing to participants 45 years of age and older to determine the level of stress in their lives and measure their response to it. Researchers then reevaluated these same participants eleven years later and saw how the perceived stress in their lives, their ability to handle or not handle this stress affected their cognition and overall health.
Older individuals with increased stress in their lives showed increased levels of hypertension, diabetes and other heart diseases. New data indicate that these older participants with high stress in their lives had a 40 percent increase in problems with their cognition than individuals with low stress in their lives.
A high stress level was found in 22.9 percent of the research participants. The participants in the research study, who identified with a high stress level were younger, obese women of African American descent. Those with a high stress level were also more likely to mot exercise, lack a college education and already have health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and elevated cholesterol.
The participants who experienced high stress at the beginning of the study and also 11 years later and those who had a new onset stress at the 11 year mark were also most affected.
Stress is a known killer of the body and now a known killer of the mind. If your life is stressful, find ways to reduce the stress. Be proactive with your mental health. Seek counseling, tell your primary care provider and ask for help, increase your physical activity and watch your diet. Incorporate meditation and other stress reducers into your life. A mind truly is a terrible thing to waste.
Dr. Veita Bland is a board-certified Greensboro physician and hypertension specialist. Dr. Bland’s radio show, “It’s a Matter of Your Health,” can be heard live on Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. on N.C. A&T State University’s WNAA, 90.1 FM. Listeners may call in and ask questions. The show is replayed on Sirius 142 at 5 p.m. on Wed. Email Dr. Bland at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Movie Review: Creed lll
Michael B. Jordan, Mila Davis Kent and Tess Thompson in Creed lll.
For a first-time director, actor Michael B. Jordan lands a solid punch. As soon as the bell rings, it’s on.
Continuing a boxing movie franchise that started back in 1976, with the Oscar-winning film Rocky, and sustaining that winning spirit for 47+ years later is quite a responsibility. Filmmaker Ryan Coogler (Creed and Creed II) was up to that task and passed it on to Jordan. With characters established by Coogler and now further nurtured by screenwriters Keegan Coogler & Zach Baylin for Creed III, another well-written script respectively continues the legacy. Three-dimensional characters, weighty backstories, fated destinies, revenge, regret… It all pushes the narrative forward.
Former World Heavyweight Champion Adonis Creed (Jordan) has nothing to prove. His glory days, titles and legendary wins are history. Now he resides in a tony part of L.A., comfortably rich. His very understanding and emotionally stabilizing wife Bianca (Tessa Thompson, Passing) keeps him grounded. Their young daughter Amara (Mila Davis Kent) adores him. He owns the Delphi Academy where boxers train and the current WHC Felix Chavez (Jose Benavidez) is coached by his old friend Tony “Little Duke” Burton (Wood Harris, TV’s Empire). Minus his mom’s (Phylicia Rashad) failing health, life is good.
One day an old buddy and boxing mentor from his teenage years shows up. When Damian Dame Anderson (Jonathan Majors, Last Man in San Francisco), an ex-con, appears in a parking lot, the old boyz from the hood reunion seems uncomfortable. Dame: ‘I just got out.” Adonis: “What’s the plan? Dame: “I wanna be champ!” On the surface, the ex-boxer just wants a chance to compete. Underneath, something is burning like a man wronged looking for payback. With love and generosity, Adonis takes his old buddy into his life and heart. Mistake?
The screenplay takes its time building the characters and giving them deep emotions, from happiness and sadness, to fear and rage. That thoughtfully drawn blueprint pulls viewers into the Creeds and Dame’s lives, struggles and ambitions. It’s more than enough to keep viewers glued to multiple plights for 1h 56m (editors Jessica Baclesse and Tyler Nelson) . Everyone will feel invested in Adonis and his family. Triggered by the interloper’s duplicitousness. Waiting for the reckoning and big fight.
Largely, the movie doesn’t disappoint. Even when some dramatic scenes drag, like an elongated lunch in a diner scene with Dame and Adonis. Or when Adonis confesses his feelings, or lack of, to Bianca. These extended moments could have been a snooze. But the script is earnest, the actors are deep into their craft, Jordan’s direction is fluid and Kramer Morgenthau’s eye-catching cinematography makes the visuals strong.
Maybe the real measure of Jordan’s creative abilities is best displayed in the boxing scenes. He doesn’t disappoint. Fights with Chavez, Dame and Adonis are innovatively shot. Especially the final fight when it seems like the two boxers are in a world of their own. They are. The camera is invisible as it zooms around like a ghost. The attractive sets (production designer Jahmin Assa) disappear. The focus is on two pugilists working out their demons and trying to punch or mindf–k their way to victory.
With most of the Rocky and Creed movies, the protagonist is so beaten, far down on his luck and victimized by misfortune that a comeback seems impossible. You have to root for them. That’s the secret sauce. But here, Dame is the one who has that hunger. After spending almost two decades in prison, recovering from an incident as an adolescent that estranged him from Adonis and crashed his boxing career, winning can be his only salvation. On the other hand, Adonis is a bit boujee. He isn’t broke. He isn’t desperate. Only one of them has the real eye of the tiger, and the flaw is that it isn’t the Rocky-type main character.
The musical playlist jumps right from the gitgo, with beats by Big Sean, Ari Lennox, Kehlani and J. Cole. While Joseph Shirley’s score rocks the house too. Sylvester Stallone’s presence is missed as the weathered champ turned trainer Rocky Balboa—a bridge to the past. But the cast finds their own way. Thompson exhibits a wonderful sensitivity as the family-focused, career-minded and loving quintessential modern Black woman. Benavidez, an actual boxing pro, brings a touch of realism to the Felix character, as does Selenis Leyva (Orange is the New Black), who plays his manager.
Every performance is professional, but Majors as the aggrieved Dame and Jordan as the guilt-ridden Adonis really bring the gravitas. They melt into their characters, are buff and as bromantic, envious and hateful as Cain and Abel. Working class Crenshaw in one corner. Moneyed Angeleno in the other. May the best man win.
Admirers of this boxing saga, adults craving drama, genre fans looking for a fight and those who enjoy excellent acting will go the rounds with Creed III. Why? Because Jordan doesn’t pull any punches. He lands them.
Score: 3 stars
Visit NNPA News Wire Film Critic Dwight Brown at BlackPressUSA.com.
Guilford County Commission seeks input on $800M budget
Guilford County Commissioners Kay Cashion (At-Large, left) and Board of Commissioners Chairman Melvin “Skip” Alston (District 8, center) are joined by County Manager Michael Halford (right) during a Town Hall meeting on the county budget held at Union Square in downtown Greensboro. All forums are open to the public. Photo by Ivan Saul Cutler/Carolina Peacemaker.
Guilford County continued seeking public input on budgeting of nearly $800 million for a range of services. In a series of four Budget Town Halls that began last week, County Commissioners and staff said they wanted residents to know more about the budgeting process and priorities, as the county prepares its revenue-spending plan for fiscal year 2023-2024.
After opening remarks, the commissioners deferred to County Manager Michael Halford who outlined the process, highlighting the current budget sources of revenues primarily from property taxes, in addition to sales taxes and federal and state grants. In balance, he provided visuals on “where the money goes” in a detailed Services Inventory presentation. Attendees received a Budget in Brief sheet, detailing current revenue sources and spending. Halford invited attendees to provide written responses on input stations in the room. During his presentation, he invited questions.
“It’s your money…and we want your thoughts,” said Board of Commissioners Chairman Melvin “Skip” Alston (District 8), who joined Commissioner At Large Kay Cashion opening the inaugural session at Union Square. A subsequent session in eastern Guilford County included Commissioners Mary Beth Murphy (District 4) and Frankie Jones Jr. (District 7).
Next sessions are from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., March 20 in High Point — Commissioners Carlvena Foster (District 1), Alan Perdue (District 2), James Upchurch (District 6) — Carl Chavis Memorial YMCA, 2757 Granville St., High Point; and March 21 in northern Guilford County — Commissioners Pat Tillman (District 3) and Carly Cooke (District 5) —Bur-Mil Park Clubhouse, 5834 Bur Mil Club Rd., Greensboro.
In 2021, the bill to award gold medals to the U.S. Capitol Police officers who responded to the Jan. 6 insurrection passed, despite 21 GOP lawmakers voting against it. The Congressional Gold Medal is Congress’s highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished contributions made by individuals. Surprisingly, party members that pride themselves as supporters of law and order opposed honoring the officers who upheld law and order on that tragic day. It is both shameful and insulting that the lawmakers who benefitted from the officers’ bravery and sacrifice found reasons to ignore the fact that five officers died carrying out their sworn duty to serve and protect.
No officers were killed on the day of the riot, four died by suicide and the fifth died of natural causes triggered by the events of the riot. The men and women of the U.S. Capitol Police are worthy of the nation’s recognition. Rep. Andrew Clyde argued a month before the vote that the riot at the Capitol was nothing more than a “normal tourist visit,” regardless of the multiple photos of Clyde helping barricade the doors of the House chamber after rioters breached the Capitol building. With the help of Fox News, Clyde’s assessment would later prove to be part of the GOP’s ongoing narrative in recreating the events of Jan. 6. Fox News, like its competitors CNN and MSNBC, are cable opinion outlets rather than pure news outlets.
Unlike the news received from traditional TV networks, cable “news” channels cater to the political interests of their viewers. For entertainment purposes, each cable network presents stories with opinions, facts, and a degree of conservative or liberal spin. But the manner of omissions, outright lies, and the sacrificing of facts for extreme political spins (and ratings) separates Fox News into its own special category.
Fox News viewers are more likely to accept and believe misinformation than viewers of other opinion outlets. Fox News may have once been an outlet for “enjoyment and entertainment,” but it has now evolved into a propaganda machine disguised as an entertainment outlet. We see how Donald Trump uses the network to disseminate information — facts, arguments, rumors, name-calling, half-truths, and lies — to influence conservative viewers’ and voters’ opinions and beliefs. Now, Kevin McCarthy, as House Speaker, is using his position to do the same. Speaker McCarthy gave Fox News host Tucker Carlson exclusive access to over 40,000 hours of sensitive Capitol security camera footage from Jan. 6. As a result, Fox News was given the freedom to spin, edit, and spin again as they saw fit. Carlson took advantage of a unique opportunity to pick up the talking points of lawmakers such as Rep. Clyde and others who downplayed and attempted to normalize the insurrection. He released to Fox News viewers a manipulated and bogus version of Jan. 6, seeking to change the narrative of the event as peaceful. In doing so, Fox News has become a state-sponsored propaganda machine typical of non-democratic nations.
Approximately 140 police officers were injured during the insurrection. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick was sprayed by chemicals and collapsed, according to witnesses, and died the following day. The family of Sicknick joined Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manager in condemning Tucker Carlson for airing “cherry-picked” video from the calmer moments of the riot rather than the “chaos and violence” that occurred on a day that officers described as medieval warfare with officers slipping on their own blood and vomit. Manager called Carlson’s accusation about Sicknick the most disturbing of the program.
“The Department maintains, as anyone with common sense would, that had Officer Sicknick not fought valiantly for hours on the day he was violently assaulted, Officer Sicknick would not have died the next day,” Manager said. Sicknick’s family issued a statement to CBS News that said they were “outraged at the ongoing attack on our family by the unscrupulous and outright sleazy so-called news network of Fox News.”
Kevin McCarthy, who seeks to maintain the power of House Speaker, gave Fox News viewers exactly what they wanted. The same is true for Tucker Carlson and Rupert Murdoch, who aims to increase ratings and revenue. Therefore, the propaganda and misinformation continue, as does the viewership. But the right-wing media giant may have met their match.
Fox News is facing a defamation lawsuit from Dominion Voting Systems, a Denver-based manufacturer of voting machines, over the network’s coverage of the 2020 presidential election and Donald Trump’s bogus claims that the election was “rigged.” “Yet despite knowing the truth — or at minimum, recklessly disregarding that truth — Fox spread and endorsed these ‘outlandish voter fraud claims’ about Dominion even as it internally recognized the lies as “crazy,” “absurd,” and “shockingly reckless” the filing claimed. Dominion is seeking $1.6 billion in lost profits and reputational harm. With the lawsuit, Fox News is now trapped in a spiral of lies and conspiracy theories of its own making. Should Dominion succeed in winning its case, it could have a devastating financial impact that would threaten the media giant’s ability to survive. Fox News has no shame and should be held accountable for its misinformation. The network will also have a loyal following. I am sure there are U.S. Capitol Police officers and officers elsewhere who will also continue to be Fox News viewers. The events from the last two years should be eye-openers to the fact that the network and many of its viewers are not true supporters of law enforcement as they claim but followers of a political and cultural cult.
David W. Marshall is founder of the faith based organization, TRB: The Reconciled Body, and author of the book “God Bless Our Divided America”. He can be reached at www.davidwmarshallauthor.com.
Questions raised about the leadership of N.C. NAACP Pres. Deborah Maxwell
When Deborah Dicks Maxwell, president of the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, won her controversial election over incumbent President Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman in October 2021, she subsequently told The Raleigh News and Observer, “The power of the NAACP does not reside in the state office; it resides in the power of all those local presidents and branches throughout the state.”
Deborah Dicks Maxwell
While many might agree that local branches should be front and center in carrying the social justice banner, others have argued that strong leadership from Pres. Maxwell and the N.C. NAACP on important social justice issues since she was elected has been lacking, and if anything, the noteworthy accomplishments that made the North Carolina conference one of the most powerful and productive in the nation from 2005-2021 under the leadership of Rev. Dr. William Barber and his successor, the late Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, have been lost.
Witness this email provided by sources titled, “N.C. Concerns and Impotency of the N.C. NAACP” from Pasquotank County NAACP Pres. Keith Rivers regarding Maxwell’s alleged lack of involvement in the aftermath of the Sheriff’s Dept. April 21, 2021 killing of Elizabeth City resident Andrew Brown Jr.
“The Pasquotank Branch of the NAACP…accomplished implementing a Sheriff’s Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) with NO assistance from the state conference or President Maxwell,” wrote Rivers in a Feb. 18, 2023 email to the national NAACP Board and others.
“At the same time, other branches across the state, like Statesville, traveled five hours to march and protest with us. We protested for 382 days, and at NO time did President Maxwell join us in Elizabeth City or provide assistance as the state conference president. Furthermore, we have legislation drafted to give the CAC investigative authority, again, NO state involvement.”
Rivers continued, “President Maxwell implied that the state conference under her leadership was working with the Pasquotank Branch to continue in the Fight for Justice of Andrew Brown Jr.; flat-out untrue…with all the new oppressive legislation attempting to be passed in N.C. and Moore v. Harper at the Supreme Court, President Maxwell painted a false picture as she and (state Executive Director) Daquan Love do so often. The lack of integrity in her remarks is a slap in the face to those on the front line and directly reflects what goes on in N.C. State Conference. Lies and Half-truths.”
This newspaper has spoken with several members and former members of the N.C. NAACP, and one common theme all have hit upon is that leadership from the state conference is sorely lacking. They warn that with Republicans intent on eliminating any semblance of teaching the true racial history of North Carolina or the nation, and a Black Republican lt. governor, who has become the mouthpiece for the conservative power structure in this state, this is not the time for President Deborah Maxwell to be anything but ever vigilant, and a strong advocate who can be counted on.
Research shows that now, with eight months left to her two-year term, and seven months from the next scheduled state conference election, Pres. Maxwell has amassed anything but an impressive record.
Since the Wilmington native took office, no less than six longtime N.C. NAACP members since January of 2022 have been suspended from their memberships, with five losing the important offices that they held. At least half claim they never received an official letter from the national NAACP office officially informing them of their suspensions, or the reasons for them.
Black voter participation in the 2022 midterm elections decreased, resulting in former N.C. Chief Supreme Court Justice Cheri Beasley losing her bid to become the first African American woman elected as U.S. Senator from North Carolina. The N.C. NAACP’s statewide get-out-the-vote/voter registration campaign under Maxwell’s leadership was nonexistent.
2022 has come and gone, and 2023 is well underway, and there have been none of the momentous coalition-building marches or rallies centered around important social justice issues like criminal justice reform or affordable housing led by the N.C. NAACP. Pres. Maxwell has rarely made a public appearance in connection with an issue of Black community concern, or rarely issued a public statement on behalf of the N.C. NAACP when the Republican-led N.C. General Assembly was advancing public policy that was contrary to the interests of the African American community statewide.
Da’Quan Marcell Love
Last November, Charlotte – Mecklenburg Chapter Pres. and state conference Fourth Vice Pres. Rev. Corine Mack wrote one of many blistering emails to Pres. Maxwell and the Executive Committee, opining that the state conference was not living up to its potential, especially under new N.C. NAACP Executive Director Da’Quan Marcell Love.
Love, a political consultant from Virginia, was hired by N.C. NAACP Administrator Gloria Sweetlove and Maxwell in August 2022 at a salary of $5,000 per month.
In an email provided by sources, Rev. Mack complained that Love “b…lames everyone when things go wrong but never takes accountability for his ineffectiveness.”
“At the November 22nd meeting, a motion was passed for us all to meet to resolve issues in our leadership,” wrote Rev. Mack to N.C. NAACP Executive Committee members on November 29th, 2022. “I agree with Treasurer [Gerald] Givens; several concerns arose concerning Mr. Love that the elected leadership must discuss amongst ourselves.”
Rev. Mack continued, “More importantly, President Maxwell has cancelled several meetings with the vice presidents and has not convened with the vice presidents, treasurer and secretary at all since gaining office.”
“As an executive committee, it would be tremendously helpful for us to forge a path forward ourselves.”
“Leadership matters!” Rev. Mack continued. “If the President can’t chair a meeting with the leadership without Mr. Love’s presence, we have a bigger problem.”
“We are not children, frankly. I am willing to meet with Deborah Maxwell and the officers to move forward with a real plan for this state conference. I have requested such a meeting from day one to no avail,” Rev. Mack concluded.
It also doesn’t help that Mr. Love’s previous NAACP leadership experience was 14 allegedly tumultuous months as executive director of the Virginia NAACP conference since 2020. According to the Richmond Free Press, Love “abruptly quit after 14 months,” leaving behind “…a blistering resignation letter accusing members of the state NAACP board of creating overly stressful conditions that were ruining his health.”
Rev. Mack was not pleased with Love’s performance in how last year’s N.C. NAACP State Convention in Fayetteville was conducted.
“We spent $60,000 for a one day N.C. State convention of which $30,000 was reimbursed to Mr. Love,” Rev. Mack wrote. “He stayed at the Embassy Suites with his mother, family and staff from his company.
“We were slotted to stay at the motel that literally had roaches crawling at our convention. Quite an expensive roach motel! Less than one hundred people attended and only sixty-seven were eligible delegates.”
Rev. Mack sarcastically continued, “I want to make you aware of the N.C. legislative agenda that will make our state the model for the new Jim Crow. But there has been No response from this leadership.”
What Maxwell, the first woman elected as N.C. NAACP president, told The News and Observer she wanted to accomplish while in office was to advocate for redistricting be a fairer process; strengthening NAACP branches across the state; and encouraging North Carolinians to “participate in the policymaking process.”
Again, Pres. Maxwell’s critics note, there’s little evidence of any of that happening on her watch. And yet, with state conference executive elections just around the corner, N.C. NAACP members may find it difficult to replace Maxwell with more dynamic leadership.
Thanks to an administrator none of them asked for, and sorely would love to get rid of.
N.C. NAACP Deborah Maxwell and Executive Director Da’Quan Love were asked for a comment for this story, but neither responded by press time.
Suspended N.C. NAACP Secretary blasts leadership in video
Sylvia Ellis Barnes
State Secretary Sylvia Ellis Barnes, 75, has served as NAACP Lifetime member, Goldsboro/Wayne County NAACP Chapter president, and secretary of the North Carolina Conference of Branches of the NAACP under five state presidents, from October of 1995 to February 18, 2023. During the Feb. 18 annual meeting, Barnes’ name was reportedly announced as having been suspended by the board, along with N.C. NAACP State Treasurer Gerald Givens.
Barnes was “floored, shocked and surprised” by what she deeply felt was unfair and unjust treatment. She was never notified in advance of any complaint being lodged against her. On Friday, March 10, Barnes taped a 58-minute video message (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmgEm8jIYb8), expressing her continued love for the NAACP. Barnes also expressed her clear disgust with what she believes is an injustice by the national board; the lack of leadership from state conference Pres. Deborah Maxwell; her frustration with Administrator Gloria Sweetlove and Executive Director Da’Quan Love specifically; her denial of violating any membership rules; and pride in her decades of selfless service in the cause of civil rights.
The sad story of Secretary Sylvia Barnes’ suspension is a textbook example, former and current NAACP members say, of how the national NAACP seems to be replacing dedicated veteran members and officers through suspensions, questionable elections and other controversial administrative measures designed to reshape the organization into an entity not reflective of its 1909 founding and principles.
It is the latest chapter in what many are saying is the diminishing of a once great civil rights organization.
A letter addressed to Sylvia Barnes dated March 9, 2023, signed by national NAACP Pres./CEO Derrick Johnson, and delivered March 10th, read in part, “Following your request for a hearing, a panel of National Board Members was convened and a hearing was held. Following the hearing and the panel’s deliberations, the panel submitted its findings and recommendations to the Committee on Membership and Units of the NAACP National Board of Directors (“Committee”). The Committee subsequently made recommendations to the full NAACP Board of Directors.”
The letter from Pres. Johnson continued, “The Committee request that the Board approve the recommendation to immediately suspend Sylvia Barnes (North Carolina – Secretary) for dereliction of duty. Gerald Givens (North Carolina – Treasurer) membership for noncompliance with regulations and request from the Administrators pending such time a hearing panel convenes and returns with a formal recommendation.”
“The purpose of this letter is to notify you that the NAACP National Board of Directors, at its meeting on February 17, 2023, voted to sustain your suspension commencing from the original suspension date. Once the suspension time is complete, you may apply to the National Board of Directors for reinstatement of your membership.”
This letter from Pres. Johnson to Secretary Barnes is problematic for several reasons.
First, according to the missive, the alleged suspension of Barnes happened on an “original suspension date,” but the letter never states what that date was. That’s important because the letter also notes that “Once the suspension time is complete, [ Barnes] may apply [to the NAACP board] for reinstatement of [her] membership.” But the letter never cites what that “suspension time” is. How is Barnes supposed to know?
Secondly, the letter stated that Secretary Barnes requested a hearing, and one was held…but apparently without her. The NAACP Bylaws and Constitution mandate a due process hearing, where a member facing suspension can face charges or accusations, presenting evidence and witnesses in defense.
“That has not happened,” she insists.
So where was Secretary Barnes’ NAACP constitutionally mandated right to face the accusations against her and defend herself accordingly?
Barnes maintains it was only when friends and colleagues began calling her with news that she had been suspended after the February 18th NAACP Board meeting that she knew anything about the change in her membership status. Nothing in writing came from the national NAACP office until Friday, March 10, 2023….four weeks later.
She says after hearing about her suspension from others, Ms. Barnes wrote the national NAACP office, requesting confirmation, and a hearing. What she got was the written March 9th response confirming her suspension, and telling her not only that the hearing she requested was held without her participation, but a panel of Board members convened it. That panel deliberated without Ms. Barnes and then “submitted its findings and recommendations to the Committee on Membership and Units of the NAACP National Board of Directors.”
The NAACP board member who chairs that committee, is Gloria Sweetlove, the administrator of the N.C. NAACP and a national NAACP board member, who allegedly wanted Secretary Barnes and Treasurer Gerald Givens suspended in the first place, because they refused her directive to issue money vouchers allegedly without Executive Committee approval, a violation of NAACP Bylaws.
Sweetlove and her committee, in turn, recommended the Barnes and Givens suspensions to the full NAACP Board, which ratified them on Feb. 17th.
When Secretary Barnes discovered what happened, and who was allegedly behind it, she says she became upset with how disrespectfully she had been treated by an organization she literally has given her life to since the age of 14.
On March 6, Barnes sent an email to several N.C. NAACP members informing them that she was no longer state conference secretary, and was no longer authorized to answer their many questions, or help them with issues. But she felt compelled to ensure that her many friends and colleagues fully understood what had happened to her.
So Barnes produced a 58-minute video, sitting at her dining room table in her Wayne County home, speaking to former colleagues, and anyone else who would listen.
“This has been a very stressful time for me because on a daily basis, I am still trying to reason within my mind a reason for my suspension, “ Barnes says on her video. She also confirms that she’s heard nothing from N.C. NAACP Pres. Deborah Maxwell.
“I’m sure, I’m positive that she knew what Ms. Sweetlove was going to do at the national board meeting,” Barnes maintains on the video. “With everything I have in me, she has not been the leader we thought she would be…,” later calling Pres. Maxwell “…a total disappointment.”
Secretary Barnes also revealed that she considered running for state conference in 2021, but backed out when Maxwell signaled that she would indeed run. Barnes threw her support to Maxwell, and then ran for reelection as state secretary.
“I expected great things. I expected great leadership.,” Barnes continued about Pres. Maxwell.’I expected that we would move forward, and be a great N.C. state NAACP under that kind of leadership, and we haven’t seen that.”
Secretary Barnes also noted the whole voucher controversy that got her into trouble. She explained that because of tight audits, there must be a voucher for every check that is written, and the state conference Executive Committee must approve all expenditures over $100. Barnes provided documentation where she and Treasurer Givens routinely refused to violate the established voucher/payment system when ordered to by Gloria Sweetlove, causing the administrator on several occasions to admonish them.
On Sept. 2, 2022, right before the state convention in Fayetteville, an angry Administrator Sweetlove wrote, “Ms. Sylvia and Gerald – I’m again having to personally request that each of you do your job and sign the invoices needed to pay the vendors for the Convention! Both Da’Quan and President Maxwell have requested that you sign these vouchers. If you no longer wish to serve in your respective positions, please resign! These actions are both irresponsible and childish. Don’t call or email! Just sign the invoices/vouchers and write the checks.”
Sweetlove concluded, “Article VIII’s are reserved for persons who choose NOT to perform the required duties of the office. I know that this is a very stressful time. If either of you feel that you can no longer fulfill the requirements of your positions, please send your letter of resignation to President Maxwell and turn in your respective items!”
There was a reason for Secretary Barnes and Treasurer Givens to balk at paying convention vouchers.
After the 2022 NC NAACP Convention, Rev. Corine Mack, Executive Committee member and president of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg NAACP chapter complained in an email, “We spent $60,000 for a one day NC State convention of which $30,000 was reimbursed to Mr. Love,” Rev. Mack wrote. “He stayed at the Embassy Suites with his mother, family and staff from his company. We were slotted to stay at the motel that literally had roaches crawling at our convention. Quite an expensive roach motel! Less than one hundred people attended and only sixty-seven were eligible delegates.”
On her personal video message, Secretary Barnes offered no apologies for following the policies that guided how she conducted her office. And though she has been indefinitely suspended from the job and membership she loved so much, Barnes is not bitter. She’s still hopeful that the NAACP she originally joined as a teenager, and has faithfully served for well over five decades, will one day return.
“I look forward, even though the national [NAACP] may never give me my membership back [to take part in NAACP marches and rallies again, even as a nonmember],” said the 75-year-old former member. “I want it understood, that I am not in no way downplaying the NAACP. I want you to understand what a wonderful organization it is and what it stands for.”
Barnes said the NAACP of 1909 was created for a reason, and it’s important that our children understand that reason.
Administrator Sweetlove, Pres. Deborah Dicks Maxwell and Executive Director Da’Quan Love have been asked to comment for our story, but did not do so by press time.
Secretary Barnes’ video message can be seen in its entirety below:
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Since 1967, the Carolina Peacemaker has served as North Carolina’s leading news weekly with a national reputation. Founded by Dr. John Kilimanjaro, the newspaper is published by Carolina Newspaper, Inc.