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National NAACP suspends two NC branch presidents connected to Justice Coalition


Just as local branch elections were scheduled to commence last weekend, the National NAACP suspended two prominent North Carolina branch presidents because of their association with Justice Coalition USA.

O’Linda Watkins McSurely of Moore County and Rev. C. Bradley Hunt of Guilford County were suspended after receiving cease and desist letters, and not allowed to run for re-election of their respective county NAACP branches because they have been critical of the national leadership of NAACP Pres./CEO Derrick Johnson.

Rev. C. Bradley Hunt
In Rev. Hunt’s case, he was replaced during a branch election on Saturday where at least 80 members did not receive electronic ballots because the national NAACP instituted its controversial “Election Buddy” system.

Watkins-McSurely has been the Moore County president for 25 years, has served as a State Assistant Secretary and a State Conference Chair, in addition to being a Gold life member.

The change in conducting branch elections was just one of the issues addressed during a fiery press conference November 30th by Justice Coalition USA, “…a coalition of NAACP members seeking redress of the issues of the NAACP National Organization illegally taking over Branches and state organizations and to address the apparent corruption existing under the current national leadership.”

Concerns were raised about the NAACP splitting off into the NAACP Empowerment Programs, Inc. without general notice to membership.

Calling National Pres/CEO Johnson a “dictatorship,” Rev. Dr. Cardes H. Brown Jr., servant leader of the Justice Coalition USA and also a suspended NAACP member, further accused Johnson during the presser of forcing the electronic election process on NAACP units (chapters/branches) deliberately in order to limit voting to the local NAACP leaders that he wants in office.

Rev. Brown further alleged that there are no accountability measures in place to ensure that the election results are correct. So whatever the initial results are, there is no confirmation. The Justice Coalition USA calls this “voter suppression…in full display under the autocratic system of Derrick Johnson…. His cover-up leaves branches across the nation disenfranchised.”

For instance, a November 19th email from N.C. NAACP Pres. Deborah Maxwell to the Greensboro branch members confirmed that their Dec. 3rd election would be conducted only by Election Buddy.

NAACP Pres./CEO Derrick Johnson
“There will be no in-person voting,” Pres. Maxwell’s email declared. “There will be no in-person elections.”

Veteran NAACP members point out that constitutionally, electronic elections have not been the accepted process for electing branch or state conference officers. The NAACP Constitution/Bylaws spell out a complete nominating and vote tabulation process that is locally controlled.

That constitutional process was discarded during the October 23, 2021 North Carolina NAACP conference executive committee elections that saw then incumbent N.C. NAACP Pres. Rev. T. Anthony Spearman replaced with New Hanover County branch Pres. Deborah Dicks Maxwell.

Rev. Spearman was later suspended for protesting what happened, and a group to N.C. NAACP supporters who eventually called themselves Justice Coalition USA was born.

At their presser, Rev. Brown and Justice Coalition USA presented testimonies from across the nation documenting election controversies as a result of the national NAACP’s electronic election process.

In Hillsborough County, Florida for instance, the November 15th election for Hillsborough County NAACP officers “…took an ugly turn…when police were called to disperse upset members over not being able to vote, despite being lifetime members,” the Florida Sentinel Bulletin reported.

Of the 890 members eligible, only 250 were allowed to cast votes, according to Joe Robinson of the Tampa NAACP, who joined the Justice Coalition USA presser by Zoom audio. Robinson attributed the problem to the branch secretary failing to send out timely email notices to all of the membership to vote per Election Buddy.

Robinson said he and two other members were suspended for protesting. Robinson contends that he was suspended and taken off his branches’ ballot for 2nd Vice President because he spoke out. He says he awaits his NAACP hearing over the matter.

O’Linda Watkins McSurely [/caption]Robinson added that he plans to file a federal lawsuit against the “NAACP administrators” for violating his constitutional rights.

In Georgia, Barbara Pierce, the immediate past president of the NAACP in Columbus, charges that her name was taken off the Election Buddy ballot without her knowledge. Pierce said she called Derrick Johnson and told him to stop the election, and that she didn’t want what happened in North Carolina to happen to her. Johnson allegedly threatened her to stay quiet. Pierce says the person who ultimately won is the person Johnson allegedly handpicked.

Pierce said they “cheated” to keep her out.

There were similar stories from California, Texas and Louisiana.

Rev. Brown and Justice Coalition USA demanded that “…all NAACP elections across the country more than one voting method…” They hold not just Johnson, but NAACP Board Chairman Leon Russell, and national administrator Gloria Sweet-Love responsible for the mayhem.

For his part, National NAACP Pres./CEO Derrick Johnson, has accused Rev. Brown and the Justice Coalition USA of “…disparaging” the NAACP. He further accused the Justice Coalition USA of “…undermining and discrediting” the National NAACP and the N.C. NAACP.