It became increasingly apparent in 1979 that High Point was in dire need of a local branch of the N.A.A.C.P. Therefore, 117 people met on Monday, May 14, 1979 at the Carl Chavis YMCA (then located at 215 Fourth Street) and thus, the High Point Branch of the N.A.A.C.P. was born. The temporary officers consisted of President – Theodore R. McRae, Vice President – Earline Moore Richardson, Recording Secretary – Earline Dennis, Treasurer – Dorothy Bostic and Parliamentarian – Al Campbell. The national N.A.A.C.P. board officially acted on the local branch’s new chapter application when they met in Columbia, South Carolina. By the next meeting, on June 11, 1979, the membership had grown to more than 283 people.
During the June meeting, T.R. McRae, acting president appointed chairpersons for 15 standing committees. The committees and chairpersons were:
Education-Rev. John Trotman
Church Work-Rev. Belvin Jessup
Press and Publicity-Hal Sieber
Political Action-O.H. Leak
Community Coordinator-Marilyn DeBerry
Life Membership-Robert Brown
Freedom Fund-Sallie Brown
Legal Redress-James Roach
Youth Work-Walter Gould
Labor & Industry-Calvin Ellison
Attorney Sam Chess, then judge, served as legal counsel. Members were asked to become actively involved in one of these committees. The acting president identified five priorities. These priorities included recruiting 1,000 members in 90 days, housing, employment, voter registration, and education.
In 1980, Albert Campbell was elected as our first president. The priorities remained the same and the membership grew. The very first Freedom Fund Dinner was held on January 24th at the Top of the Mart with the keynote speaker being Dr. Benjamin Hooks, the National Director of the N.A.A.C.P. Membership continued to grow to over 1,000 members.
The most successful year for membership was 1981. After the spring membership drive, the committee, chaired by Mr. Charles Powell, had obtained 515 new members and 1982 renewed members, bringing the total membership to 1,046. The chapter was awarded the “Lucille Black Membership Award” from national due to securing the highest percentage increase over 25 percent. The people on the membership committee were Constance Allen, Faye Ash, Elizabeth Ashworth, Annie Boyd, Erline Boyd, Norma Bullard, Steve Clark, Sylvia Collins, Mildred Cowans, Catherine Davenport, Bernadette Davis, Marilyn DeBerry, Annie Dixon, Fannie Ellis, Bill Fuller, Lawrence Graves, Sandra Hayes, the late Lenora Hogue, Bernice Mayfield, George Pope, Lois Powell, Sarah Sparks, Willie Mae Stanton, Larry Thompson, the late Sarah Thompson, Barbara Tillman, and Benjie Williams. During the year, the fundraiser highlight was the “Freedom Fund Dinner” with Attorney Julius Chambers, President of the Legal Defense Fund as the guest speaker. The Social Committee, chaired by Norma Bullard, presented the most successful fundraiser, the “Harvest Ball,” at the High Point Mall.
As each new president was elected, the emphasis remained on voter registration and membership, while leading the charge for a new ward system in High Point in 1983 under the leadership of James Roach.
A detailed history of each president and their committee accomplishments is available from the High Point Branch of the N.A.A.C.P. All help, encouragement, and support are very much appreciated. We all must continue to cooperate and pull together as we move forward and look forward to greater goals.
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The education, advocacy, and actions of the High Point Branch NAACP, #5405B, was recognized at the 80th Annual NAACP State Convention, held September 28-30, 2023, in Wilmington NC. Our High Point University Collegiate Chapter was present to celebrate with us. The...
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