EXCLUSIVE: Rev. Barber says he will announce his choice for next NAACP head soon
Thus far, several NC NAACP officials have announced who they are supporting to become the conference leader, but the current president says he’ll wait until he’s actually set to step down.
Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, outgoing president of the NC NAACP, says even though he’s already announced his intentions to step down after 12 years to join a national movement surrounding the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1968 Poor People’s Campaign, he hasn’t done so yet. In a phone interview last week, Rev. Barber said when he does decide what his last day on the job will be, he will also announce who he’d like to see become the next conference president during state conference elections in October.
Barber’s announcement is expected to occur by the middle of June. First Vice President Carolyn Coleman said last week that candidates for state president are expected to formally file by June 15th.
Thus far, only Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, NCNAACP Third Vice President for the past six years, and president of the NC Council of Churches, has been the only one to formally file to run for the post.
“My 53 years of membership in the NAACP, and twelve years of leadership experience in the N.C. NAACP prepare me to become the next President of this great civil rights organization,” Rev. Spearman, who also pastor’s a church in Greensboro, said in a statement sent to NCNAACP membership last weekend.
Ms. Coleman has said she hasn’t decided yet, and former NCNAACP Pres. Melvin “Skip” Alston has indicated that he’s definitely not a candidate, but will support Ms. Coleman if she runs.
Rev. Spearman, however, seems to be attracting a good deal of support thus far.
Rev. Cardes Brown, president of Greensboro Branch of the NAACP, and state chapter Religious Affairs Committee chairman, has formally endorsed Spearman, as has Bishop George Battle, presiding prelate of the Piedmont Episcopal District.
“Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman is prepared to carry on Dr. Barber’s vision, spirit, and intellectual brilliance as Barber moves to another lane…”wrote atty. Al McSurely, chair of the NCNAACP Communications Committee.
Leslie Malachi, national director of the 2,200-member African-American Ministers’ Leadership Council, agrees, writing that if Rev. Spearman is elected the next NCNAACP president, “This is the assignment for one who will not only speak truth to power but speak truth with power.”
Meanwhile, which one of the four current NCNAACP vice presidents will serve out the rest of Rev. Barber’s term after he formally steps down? According to the NAACP Constitution, the first vice president automatically assumes that role when the current president leaves before the term is up, unless the first vp decides not to take it.
In this case, First Vice President Carolyn Coleman has said she hadn’t made up her mind on succeeding Rev. Barber, and he would not confirm whether what she decided during a meeting last Monday. There was speculation that both Ms. Coleman and Second Vice President Carolyn McDougal would step aside, allowing Third Vice President Spearman to assume the post, but as of press time, there was no confirmation of that.