The Burlington-Alamance Branch of the NAACP steadfastly supports the safety of women at all times and in all places. The merits of the allegations made against Rev. Curtis Gatewood are beyond the scope of our branch to determine. That being said, his membership was suspended without the benefit of a transparent investigation as provided by national policy. That suspension rendered him unable to continue to be a candidate in the state elections one week before the convention.
T. Anthony Spearman, the sitting president, has four separate petitions filed against him seeking his removal from office on multiple grounds, not the least of which is financial misconduct.
In light of the controversies on both sides, the Burlington-Alamance Branch held a press conference intended to make a public appeal to the National Board to step in and take direct action. Two days later, a delegation representing several branches from across the state, as well as state executive committee members, traveled to Baltimore to make a personal appeal for intervention from the National Board. This resulted in an emergency meeting of the National Board that evening, via teleconference. The result of that meeting was the suspension of the regularly scheduled election, as evidenced by the letter from the National Office below.
The convention will go on as planned, but there will be no election. Specific details and outcomes will be shared in further detail at our next general meeting on October 19th at 4pm, 1908 S. Mebane St., Burlington NC.
There are some troubling allegations that have surfaced in the media against Rev. Curtis Gatewood from events alleged to have taken place in 2017. We would like to emphasize that these are allegations only, and there has been no legal investigation nor legal charges filed. The National Office took action to suspend Rev. Gatewood’s membership pending a hearing into these allegations. This suspension means that Rev. Gatewood is currently ineligible to run for NC NAACP office or hold any NAACP position until such time as the hearing is complete.
We at the Alamance NAACP ask that the National Office of the NAACP intervene in this matter. Reverend Gatewood's suspension was issued in response to a pending Article X petition for removal. Due to the fact that Rev. T. Anthony Spearman has two pending Article Xs against him, we ask that he also be removed from office and that First Vice President Carolyn Q. Coleman be put into his place until this is resolved. It is unfair to have one person removed and not the other.
In addition, we also call on the National Office to perform an audit of the NC NAACP Conference's finances, something which has not been done in over four years. We find it suspicious that these two-year-old allegations surfaced just two weeks before the NC NAACP state election. Rev. Gatewood, as part of his campaign platform, promised a full audit of the state finances. The charge against Rev. Gatewood has been led by none other than the state treasurer, who unsuccessfully attempted to have Rev. Gatewood removed from the ballot and is now seen directly at the side of Rev. Gatewood's accuser in all the media coverage.
The Burlington-Alamance Branch of the NAACP is dedicated to the fair treatment of all people, and that includes the safety and protection of women. That said, justice for all means protecting the rights of both the accused and the accusers. Some fifty years after the lynching of Emmett Till, it is disconcerting that a black man in America can still be condemned based only on unsubstantiated accusations and hearsay. Rev. Curtis Gatewood was denied due process from both within the NAACP itself and according to the law. And even in a post-Trump America, people are still presumed innocent until proven guilty. The Executive Committee of the Burlington-Alamance Branch of the NAACP calls into question the process, or lack thereof, that led to the public allegations leveled at Rev. Curtis Gatewood. There are a few concerns that we find suspicious.
First, there was no police report, nor any legal charges filed. There exists no written reprimands or personnel records to support these accusations. Supporting documentary evidence has not been released. The so-called independent investigator was hired by Rev. Gatewood’s campaign opponent to replace the existing personnel committee and is now serving has Ms. Childs’ legal counsel. This matter was considered as a matter of whether or not personnel policy was violated, yet the personnel committee was circumvented from taking any role in the investigation. Finally, the cease-and-desist letter was signed by Rev. Gatewood’s campaign opponent, T. Anthony Spearman, as well as William Barber, who, as a past president, did not have the authority to enact such an order.
This alleged harassment is based on a two-year-old allegation. These so-called elder women leaders have only now, two weeks before the NAACP NC State Conference of Branches election, decided to find their voices. The fact that Rev. Gatewood was running against T. Anthony Spearman, William Barber’s hand-picked successor, makes the timing of this urgent campaign to take action against Rev Gatewood all the more suspicious. It is also suspicious that three senior elected officers (all women), two vice presidents, and the duly elected secretary were not present at the press conference. They were not even aware of the press conference prior to the airing of the event. At least one of these women was removed from the state personnel committee right after this allegation was made in 2017; but retains her seat on the national board's human resources committee. In effect, the ranking women officers of the NAACP NC State Executive Committee were systematically and purposely excluded from the press conference and the alleged investigation of the complaint.
The self-appointed spokespeople at the press conference did not call for any action that could not have been addressed internally or through legal action. They seem to be trying to usurp the authority and force action on the part of the National President & CEO Derrick Johnson, Board Chairperson Leon Russell, Chief Operating Officer Denese Carroll and the National Board members by trying Rev. Gatewood in the court of public opinion. “Women elders” is not a recognized group within the NAACP. These are rogue members acting independently and counter to the legitimate organizational structure, who have taken it upon themselves to attack the national NAACP and falsely accuse the national body of a lack of policy. Such a policy does exist. This group has circumvented every reasonable course of action in favor of creating a media spectacle of unsubstantiated allegations in a not-so-veiled attempt to discredit T. Anthony Spearman's opponent in the upcoming elections.
We of the Burlington-Alamance NAACP stand with women and for the safety of women in all arenas. What we question is how these horrific allegations could have gone unvetted and unresolved for two long years. We question why William Barber stands with women now but did not resolve this swiftly during his term as president of the NAACP NC State Conference of Branches, when he served as Rev. Gatewood's direct superior. We question how these elder women leaders have gone unsupported and undefended by President T. Anthony Spearman for his full two-year term as president. We question why, if these allegations had even the slightest hint of merit, it only became an issue in the waning days of T. Anthony Spearman’s utterly unremarkable term as president. We question why Spearman did not act upon taking office, when he inherited this alleged harassment case from Barber, who also did not see it resolved.
What seems clear is that as long as we are talking about unsubstantiated allegations, we are not discussing the fiscal solvency of the NAACP NC State Conference of Branches. We are suspicious because Rev. Gatewood had pledged, if elected, to authorize an audit of the state accounts, something that has not happened in over four years, yet that is something that is required by the NAACP Constitution to happen on an annual basis. We suspect that the trail of financial deficits would lead right back to the present and previous administrations. Finally, we find it suspicious that while both of these administrations failed to stand up for the alleged victim for two full years, they are now standing by her side, joined by none other than the state treasurer.
Dear President Brown, Executive Committee and Burlington-Alamance NAACP members:
1. As President of the Raleigh-Apex NAACP, I have read your branch email and statement. I
have reached out to our branch 2019 State Convention Delegates, and the Executive
Committee to ask for their input and views.
2. While we can’t take a position on what has happened, we do believe your concerns should
be weighed. We are in favor of suspending the election and perhaps the convention. We are
in favor of financial audits for each year not filed by the State Conference. We are in favor of
our current State Conference, 1st Vice President, Carolyn Q. Coleman acting as the interim
President; getting to the bottom of the challenges and issues at hand. Outside of two people
who I couldn’t reach, out of twenty-two people our positions are unanimous.
3. Please be advised, as the North Carolina capitol city NAACP branch, several of our coalition
partners have informed some of our committee chairs and I that they will continue to work
with our local branch but will not support the State Conference or HKONJ until these matters
are resolved. Our Youth Branch will hold an emergency meeting. Their parents and allies
are asking questions too. The Adult branch will hold an emergency meeting as well.
4. It is important for the mission of the NAACP, no matter what the outcome, that all of our
branches and membership feel that these matters are addressed with careful consideration.
While these are very difficult affairs to contend with, it is our hope that we can face them
head-on and eventually come out stronger as a result.
Gerald D. Givens Jr.
President, Raleigh-Apex NAACP
US Air Force, Retired
The mission of the NAACP is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.
The Alamance NAACP advocates for social justice in multiple ways. Most of our work is done in committees, who attend local governing meetings, organize events, register voters and much more! We also work closely with our coalition partners to ensure that we can make a positive difference in our community and continue to move #forwardtogether!
There are many ways to get involved with us and the community. You can become a member of our branch, attend one of our events, or make a donation to our cause in our online store. Once you are a member, we have multiple committees to suit a variety of interest & skills. Interested in politics? Try our Political Action Committee! Good on social media or enjoy writing? Try out our Communications Committee! We also strongly encourage all of our community members to get involved governing efforts through voting, attending local governing meetings, writing to your legislators.
Thank you for your interest in the Alamance NAACP and we look forward to seeing you soon!
At the Alamance NAACP, we regularly participates in events and canvassing to register voters. We are in need of volunteers for the libraries and summer events. If you are interested, please contact our Voter Registration coordinator, Alice Wieting at firstname.lastname@example.org or 336-437-6242.
Please note that all voter registration done by the NAACP is non-partisan.
We were honored to host a Faith and Justice Rally on September 14th 2019, and to hear words of wisdom and calls to action from the pillars of our community. A special thanks to all the speakers, and those who came to hear their voices. We are truly blessed.
Photo Credit: Tony Crider
A look back on our last year of registering voters, feeding the hungry, protesting injustice, and holding our elected officials accountable.