Pictured are Cleveland NAACP President Michael Nelson Sr. (wearing red tie and eyeglasses), Cleveland NAACP first vice president James Hardiman (wearing turtleneck sweater), former Cleveland NAACP president the Rev. Hilton Smith whom Nelson succeeded (wearing red tie and no eyeglasses), former Cleveland NAACP first vice president the Rev. Dr. E. Theophilus Caviness (wearing red bow-tie), former Cleveland NAACP Third Vice President Sara J. Harper, who lost a bid for branch president against Nelson in 2015, and George Forbes, a former longtime Cleveland NAACP president and former Cleveland City Council president whom Smith succeeded (wearing blue tie).
By Editor-in-Chief Kathy Wray Coleman, a-24-year journalist who trained at the Call and Post Newspaper in Cleveland, Ohio for 17 years, and who interviewed now President Barack Obama one-on-one when he was campaigning for president. As to the Obama interview,
CLEVELAND URBAN NEWS.COM-CLEVELAND, Ohio- The Cleveland Chapter NAACP will hold its election for branch officers and members of the executive committee Tuesday, Nov 1, from 5 pm-9 pm at the University Circle United Methodist Church in Cleveland, according to Arlene Anderson, the organization's secretary.
The election comes as racial unrest remains heightened relative Cleveland police killings of unarmed Black people and Blacks continue to be targets of an unfair and unconstitutional legal system county-wide that is plagued with vicious and malicious prosecutions, high bail bonds and unfair sentences, and a cadre of mercy-less predominantly White common pleas judges.
To vote on Tuesday members must be paid-up and in good standing 30 days prior, said Anderson, who added that "we look forward to participation in these activities."
Branch President Michael Nelson Sr., a unsuccessful former mayoral candidate and local criminal defense attorney elected to his term in 2015, is unopposed. He won the presidency a year ago over retired Ohio 8th District Court of Appeals judge Sara Harper, now 90- years-old, and under contention and via a split with then president, the Rev Hilton Smith and the Smith regime, including Harper and the influential Rev. Dr. E. Theophilus Caviness. (Editor's note: The election was originally set for 2014 but was delayed a year due to infighting, so Nelson has served only one year to date as president. Tuesday's branch officers-elect will hold the typical two-year office terms).
Smith, who was in conflict also with first vice president James Hardiman, a Nelson ally and prominent local attorney, succeeded longtime president George Forbes, a semi-retired attorney and former longtime Cleveland city council president who stepped down from the Civil Rights group in 2012.
When Nelson swept into power in 2015 the election, which followed long-term infighting and routine complaints to national headquarters, drew some 60 to 70 people, a departure from the days when interest was high and the NAACP, now led at the national level by president and CEO Cornell William Brooks, had more clout.
In fact, when Forbes was first elected in 1992, defeating the Rev. Larry Harris, some 800 votes were cast.
Asked why there is such little interest in seeking election to the branch offices up for bid this year, including president, first and second vice president, secretary and treasurer, Richard "Dick" Peery, a retired Cleveland Plain Dealer Newspaper reporter and an executive committee member, said that "the Cleveland NAACP has been rebuilding under Mike Nelson and there is really not much to comment on."
Nelson and others were nominated this year by a nominating committee in connection with the organizational by-laws.
Though nominations from the floor in a previous meeting could have brought an opponent, Nelson remains unchallenged.
Unlike his branch president predecessors (George Forbes and the Rev Hilton Smith), Nelson has been vocal since assuming office in taking on three-term Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, who is Black, and the mayor's largely White police department, and lame duck Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty as to his protection from prosecution of White cops that gun-down innocent Blacks.