Thank you to everyone who came out to our Tree Planting Ceremony to help us honor the memory of the #Charleston9, and a special thanks to Claude Burfect and Jackie Jones-Walsh on our labor committee.
Pursuing Liberty in the Face of Injustice
Thank you to everyone in the community who came out in solidarity with the Charleston 9 and marched with us.
From King5 News: On Tuesday night, a show of solidarity for the Charleston church shooting victims wound its way through the streets of Seattle. Hundreds took part in the rally that began at First AME Church and then marched to Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park.
As they marched, people chanted "Who stands with Charleston? Seattle stands with Charleston!".
The Seattle NAACP worked with the Washington Christian Leadership coalition to put together the event, in honor of the nine people who were murdered last month in the middle of bible study at their historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina.
Organizers of the Seattle rally said they were thrilled to see incredible diversity in the crowd.
"We have white people, we have black people, Hispanic people, just saying we're all here. And even if we don't say anything, just our presence is just letting you know that we care. Call on us," said Pastor Lawrence Willis, who is the president of the United Black Christian Clergy. "We want to stand and band together."
Photos courtesy of Al Garman
President Hankerson visits Baltimore
In May, President Hankerson visited Baltimore and spoke with the community, police officers, and national guardsman while driving around the city. Among the photos below, President Hankerson stopping by the location where Freddie Gray was arrested, the militaristic state of the city and the crowd as the City Prosecutor announced her office was filing charges against 6 officers.
President Hankerson speaks about his experience with KOMO Radio from the streets of Baltimore.
Seattle King County NAACP, Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle, and the Loren Miller Bar Association meet on May 9th.
The executive boards of the Loren Miller Bar Association, Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle, and Seattle King County NAACP
Charles V. Johnson, Retired, Assistant Treasurer and active in the Branch for over 55 years.
Oral History recorded by the University of Washington: Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project. http://depts.washington.edu/civilr/johnson.htm
For the past 20 years, the branch has concentrated on voter registration, humane law enforcement, and on young people, while monitoring economic development and providing legal redress. Elimination of drugs and prostitution was the focus of one march at Judkins Park. Through its ACT-SO (Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics) program, the organization encourages and inspires black youth toward excellence in academic and cultural pursuits.
The following are Seattle citizens who have served as president of the local chapter of the NAACP:
- Attorney Philip Burton
- Rev. F. Benjamin Davis
- Thelma Dewitty
- J. H. Graves
- Judge Donald D. Haley
- Judge Charles V. Johnson
- Odel Lewis
- Benjamin McAdoo
- Attorney James McIver
- Rev. Fountain Penick
- Rev. Fred Shorter
- E. June Smith
- Melvina Squires
- James Washington
- Letcher Yarbrough
- Attorney Andrew Young
Lacy Steele served as president for 26 years, through 1998. In 1999 Oscar Eason was elected president. In 2002 Carl Mack was elected president in the first contested race in 30 years.
In 2004, the Seattle King County Branch of the NAACP received the 2004 Thalheimer Award for its voter mobilization and other community efforts. The award, presented at the organization's annual convention, honors the country's most outstanding branch of the NAACP. This is the first time the Seattle branch has received it.
In January 2005, Carl Mack stepped down as head of the Seattle Chapter in order to accept the position of executive director of the National Society of Black Engineers. Seattle attorney Alfoster Garrett Jr., who had been chapter vice president, took over as president. In 2006 Sheley Secrest completed the unfinished term of Alfoster Garrett, Jr.
James Bible, a Seattle attorney, became the organization's third president in two years in 2007.
In 2008 Bible called for the resignation of Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske because he exonerated two officers who were accused of roughing up and planting drugs on a black man who was a convicted drug dealer. The association has also been concerned about racial profiling and profiling of the poor by the Seattle police.
Attention was focused on the Seattle School District in 2008 and 2009 in its proposals for closing schools. On January 29, 2009 the Seattle School Board voted to close the programs at five schools: T. T. Minor, African American Academy, Cooper, Meany, and Summit K-12. Of the nearly 1,800 students who will be directly impacted, most are students of color. The NAACP had pursued dialogues with the school district, held rallies, and held candlelight vigils to prevent closures that would hurt people of color, the poor, and those with learning disabilities. It urged those who would be hurt by closures to file complaints with the U. S. Department of Education and Office of Civil Rights and offered to provide help to those affected.
The Seattle Times, July 13, 2004; John Iwasaki, "Leadership Change at Local NAACP," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, January 25, 2005 (http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/209273_mack25.htm); Mary Henry interview with Charles Johnson, February 7, 2009, Seattle; Marc Ramirez, "NAACP Says Suit Possible over Seattle School Closures," The Seattle Times, January 17, 2009; "NAACP to Hold Hearings on Police Conduct," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, March 26, 2008; Lornet Turnbull, "NAACP: Racial Profiling on the Rise; Young People Targeted by Police," The Seattle Times, September 9, 2008; Linda Shaw, "Seattle Board Votes to Close 5 Schools," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, January 30, 2009..
Note: This essay was updated on January 27, 2005, and again on February 8, 2009.
By Mary T. Henry, January 14, 1999