Former N.C. NAACP President suspended, vows to sueBy Cash Michaels, Peacemaker Senior Contributor / May 27, 2022
There’s a new chapter in the ongoing saga of the controversial N.C. NAACP executive committee elections from October of 2021 where incumbent President Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman was ousted from office by New Hanover County NAACP Pres. Deborah Dicks Maxwell.Rev. Spearman says he’s in the process of filing suit against the national NAACP because it apparently has suspended him from membership. As reported exclusively before, Rev. Spearman is part of a North Carolina group now called “NAACP Justice Coalition” led by Rev. Dr. Cardes Brown of Greensboro that filed an Article 10 complaint about alleged election violations that occurred last October.
The group maintained that these alleged election improprieties violated the NAACP Constitution and Bylaws, and should invalidate all new N.C. NAACP officers elected.
Derrick Johnson, NAACP president/CEO, however, dismissed the Article 10 complaint from Spearman and the coalition in December, saying it has “lack of merit.”
Weeks later, Dr. Spearman says he was informed that he had been suspended in a letter dated February 7, 2022 from national NAACP Pres./CEO Derrick Johnson. Someone gave him a copy of the letter that allegedly had been sent out, but not to him, due to his not receiving it.
A copy of the letter reviewed by this reporter notes that it was sent “Via Regular Mail and Email,” not by standard certified mail important business documents are normally sent by, to Rev. Spearman at a Greensboro address, followed by “Re: Suspension Letter.”
From there the NAACP letter from Johnson alleges in detail that Spearman, “… despite repeated requests from President Maxwell and the NAACP Office of the General Counsel, you have failed to return the state Conference’s property.”The NAACP letter goes on to quote from the NAACP Bylaws the requirements for members to return property of the branch within 30 days after an election. The missive also warns Spearman that “…continued recalcitrant conduct will cause irreparable harm to the Association and the State Conference. Specifically, your failure to comply is disrupting the orderly transition in leadership and interfering with the State Conference’s ability to conduct its business affairs. Moreover, this ongoing dispute is tarnishing the reputation of the Association and has made it difficult for the State Conference to represent the interests of our members.”
Later in the NAACP letter from Pres. /CEO Johnson, it says, “In light of the potential adverse impact on the State Conference, your continued membership in the Association presents a danger of harm to the NAACP and the State Conference. Accordingly, action is necessary to prevent or mitigate that harm. Accordingly, I hereby suspend your membership in the Association, effective immediately, pending investigation and a full hearing (if you so request) regarding the allegations contained in this letter.
Ironically, Johnson writes that Rev. Spearman is entitled to a hearing if requested in writing that “…must be sent by certified mail.”
“You are directed to cease and desist immediately from holding yourself out as a member of the NAACP and as the State Conference President.,” Johnson concludes.
Pres. Johnson’s letter to Spearman is copied to the chair of the National NAACP Board of Directors, and Deborah Maxwell, N.C. NAACP president.
In his lawsuit, Rev. Spearman will undoubtedly note that the National NAACP Constitution and Bylaws maintain that where there is an election dispute, all previous officers are to stay in place until a resolution has been reached, and he was in his rights to hold onto the property of his office as state conference president until resolution of the complaint had been satisfactorily reached.
The NAACP Justice Coalition says resolution was not reached, despite Derrick Johnson saying that the Article 10 complaint was without merit.
Sources also tell this reporter that at a national NAACP meeting last weekend, all members of the NAACP Justice Coalition had been suspended. Rev. Dr. Cades Brown confirmed that as of Monday, none had received letters of confirmation.