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One month after death of former N.C. NAACP Pres., no word on cause

By Cash Michaels, Peacemaker Senior Contributor / August 18, 2022

Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman

Friday, August 19th marks one month since the death of former N.C. NAACP President Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, age 71. To date, there has been no official explanation as to how or why he died, and many would like to know.

Thus far, there’s been no reward-ladened Crimestoppers pronouncement for anyone with information to step forward and share with authorities what they know.
Here’s what we do know.

It was just after 5 p.m., on Tuesday, July 19th, that Rev. Spearman’s lifeless body was found in the basement of his Guilford County home, stretched out on a couch, amid a large pool of blood nearby.

That description came from a close associate of Dr. Spearman’s who went to his home, and was let in by a close, concerned relative who arrived at the same time. Concern arose when the civil rights leader failed to attend a 2 p.m. Guilford County Board of Elections meeting earlier that day, Repeated calls to Spearman’s home also went unanswered. Dr. Spearman had been home alone for several days. His wife, Janice, was away in Detroit, Michigan reportedly with her ailing mother.

The last time Rev, Spearman was seen or heard from was during a Zoom call the night before, which reportedly ended at approximately 10 p.m., a colleague told this reporter.

There’s little doubt that the Guilford County Sheriff’s investigators handling Dr. Spearman’s case know all of the above, if not a lot more.

Those investigators know for certain whether this was a homicide (sources have indicated that it allegedly was), and by now, know approximately what time Dr. Spearman expired, and the cause. They know because Dr. Spearman’s body was released a week after his death for his August 2nd funeral, which means the coroner’s office had the opportunity to exam his body prior to August 2nd.

One month after his death, Guilford County Sheriff Danny Rogers remains tightlipped as to what happened to Spearman, how it happened, who might be a person or persons of interest, and whether to expect a break in the case.

Observers note that there may be very good reasons for the radio silence on Sheriff Rogers’ part.

When called Monday for comment, Sheriff Rogers indicated that he was waiting on the medical examiner to state conclusively how Rev. Spearman died, and that sometimes it could take as many as three months for the answer.

Observers ask, “Then why not tell the public that?”

Past cases have shown that when the M.E. takes a month to three months to make a determination of death in a case, it’s usually because a toxicology test is involved.

But the large pool of blood seen by the person who discovered Spearman’s body does not suggest poison, but rather a blunt force attack of some sort. Perhaps it could’ve been a blow to the head, a stabbing or gunshot? Was there a wound of any sort evident on Spearman’s body?

One fact is clear … 30 days later, and the people who loved and admired Spearman, and revered his work for civil and human rights, still don’t know what happened.

It was Spearman’s attorney, Mark Cummings, who said on the record on July 22nd that both he and the family hoped that state authorities would “assist” the Guilford County Sheriff’s Dept. in its investigation.

At press time, there is no word that the State Bureau of Investigation is assisting in the probe of the death of Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman.

Rev. Spearman was a leader who stood strong for justice for others in life.

Those he led in that struggle are now seeking justice in knowing that a truthful explanation of his passing is forthcoming.


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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.

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