Other Group

North Carolina NAACP

Location:

Raleigh, NC

Parent Company:

NAACP

Formation:

1940 1

References

  1. Cross, Jamey. “Group questions state NAACP elections, including New Hanover native elected president.” Wilmington Star News. January 7, 2022. Accessed April 20, 2024. https://www.starnewsonline.com/story/news/2022/01/07/justice-coalition-calls-re-election-recent-nc-naacp-officer-elections/9130716002/
President:

Deborah Dicks Maxwell

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The North Carolina NAACP is a civil rights organization and a state conference of the national NAACP that was founded in 1940.  North Carolina at one point had the largest state NAACP conference in the United States. 1 2

Beginning in 2019, the North Carolina NAACP has been mired in controversy and division among members over its finances. The national NAACP placed the state chapter under an administratorship for financial oversight. 3 Other state members raised questions about the election transparency of officers. 4

Background

The North Carolina NAACP was founded in 1940. It is a state arm of the NAACP, which was founded in 1909. 5

The North Carolina NAACP says it wants to achieve equity, political rights, and social inclusion by expanding human and civil rights, eliminating discrimination, and promoting the education and economic security of “all persons of color.” The group says it is committed to a world without racism. 6

The North Carolina State Conference NAACP is a volunteer-led organization with an executive committee made up of local NAACP branch leaders from across the state. 7

History

In 1940, Kelly Alexander, Sr. reactivated the Charlotte NAACP branch and in 1948 was elected the North Carolina NAACP president, holding the job until 1984. Over that time, his home was bombed once, and his life was threatened several times. Under Alexander, the North Carolina NAACP conference became the largest state conference in the United States with 120 local branches and 30,000 members. 8

Alexander was elected to the national NAACP board of directors in 1954,and was elected to vice chair of the board in 1976. He became acting chairman in 1983 and was elected national chairman in 1984, the year he left his post in North Carolina. Kelly Alexander, Jr. became the next state NAACP president, followed by Melvin “Skip” Ashton and William Barber, who was first elected in 2005. 9

They were followed by Anthony Spearman, elected president in 2017, and Deborah Dicks Maxwell, elected president in 2021. 10

Leadership

Deborah Dicks Maxwell is the president of the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP. She is the first female president of the group. She was previously president of the New Hanover County NAACP. She has been a public health social worker and is a U.S. Army veteran and was in the Army Reserves. She is a former commander of a local NABVETS (National Association of Black Veterans) chapter. She is the chairwoman of the Southeastern Regional Network of Care and Prevention. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) appointed her to the Racial Equity in Criminal Justice Task Force. 11

Da’Quan Marcell Love is the executive director of the North Carolina NAACP. 12 The national NAACP appointed Love to the post to help shore up finances in the state. Love was previously an executive director of the Virginia branch of the NAACP. 13

Election Controversy

In 2021, Deborah Dicks Maxwell won a controversial online election to unseat incumbent North Carolina NAACP president T. Anthony Spearman, who had been elected in 2017. 14 15

Members of the North Carolina NAACP raised questions about the propriety of the organization’s 2021 presidential election. 16 Opponents of the outcome said the national NAACP failed to conduct a constitutional election. 17

After losing the election, Spearman filed a lawsuit against state and national NAACP officials accusing them of defaming him and conspiring to remove him from the presidency. 18 Spearman committed suicide the following year. 19

Maxwell was re-elected in 2023 defeating Keith Rivers, the president of the Pasquotank County NAACP branch. 20

Financial Controversies

The Raleigh News and Observer newspaper first reported on financial problems with the North Carolina NAACP after the death of its former president Anthony Spearman, finding the organization had faced “financial mayhem.” It reported on letters from leaders of the national NAACP to the state chapter demanding it “turn over financial documentation that proved where the money had been for the past several years.” 21

North Carolina NAACP Treasurer Ben McKeown Givens identified eight years of “very problematic” spending patterns and more than $1 million in spending that lacked proper authorization. 22 Givens had been investigating the spending patterns of both Spearman and his predecessor, the William Barber II, going back to 2013. 23

In 2019, the North Carolina chapter was placed under an administratorship, allowing the national NAACP to hold some control of the day-to-day operations. 24 The national NAACP placed Gloria Sweet-Love, president of the Tennessee NAACP state conference, in charge of oversight of the finances of the North Carolina NAACP. 25

The national NAACP ousted Givens and North Carolina NAACP Secretary Sylvia Barnes over the financial accountability issues. 26 27 Barnes had raised concerns about the contract for hiring of Da’Quan Love as executive director for $5,000 per month—which was more than previous executive directors were paid. Barnes also accused Love—appointed by the national NAACP to help oversee finances—of billing the state’s NAACP for travel expenses before getting approval from the state executive board. 28

A dozen of the state conference’s executive committee members resigned in protest over the hiring of Da’Quan Love as executive director and the suspension of Givens and Barnes. 29

Tax-Exempt Status

In May 2022, the Internal Revenue Service revoked the tax-exempt status of the North Carolina NAACP because it allegedly failed to file tax forms for three consecutive years. 30

In March 2023, the North Carolina NAACP was back in good standing with the IRS as a tax-exempt nonprofit. The national NAACP announced the IRS erroneously concluded the North Carolina NAACP and about 600 state and local chapters failed to file required forms with the IRS. North Carolina NAACP executive director Da’Quan Love said this meant the state conference could begin fundraising again. 31

The IRS revocation was not related to financial questions in the state chapter, the Raleigh News and Observer reported. Rather, the IRS revoked the tax-exempt status of about 600 of NAACP chapters, including statewide conferences in California, Texas, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, and Kansas and another 40 local NAACP chapters in North Carolina. According to the national NAACP, the state and local chapters filed their financial information with the national body—which forwards it to the IRS. However, the IRS counted the information as missing. If financial filings are missing for three years or more, it results in automatic revocation of tax-exempt status. National NAACP General Counsel Janette McCarthy Wallace said, “The NAACP group’s FY (fiscal year) 2019 and FY 2020 Forms 990 were inexplicably never registered on the IRS’ computer system.” 32

Voting and Redistricting Litigation

In 2020, the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP sued the state for its electronic voting machines for that year’s elections. The lawsuit alleged the ExpressVote company’s touchscreen machines were vulnerable to security threats and thus violated citizens’ rights to a free and fair election under the state Constitution. 33

The North Carolina NAACP opposes a state voter ID law. 34

In late 2023, the North Carolina NAACP joined Common Cause to sue the Republican-led state legislature over the redistricting of maps. The lawsuit claims the new legislative maps unfairly targeted minority voters. 35

References

  1. Cross, Jamey. “Group questions state NAACP elections, including New Hanover native elected president.” Wilmington Star News. January 7, 2022. Accessed April 20, 2024. https://www.starnewsonline.com/story/news/2022/01/07/justice-coalition-calls-re-election-recent-nc-naacp-officer-elections/9130716002/
  2. “History.” North Carolina NAACP. Accessed April 20, 2024. https://ncnaacp.org/history/
  3. Kane, Dan. “NC NAACP tumult continues: Latest disciplinary move by national office draws fire.” Raleigh News and Observer. March 16, 2023. Accessed April 21, 2024. https://www.newsobserver.com/news/state/north-carolina/article273214595.html
  4. Cross, Jamey. “Group questions state NAACP elections, including New Hanover native elected president.” Wilmington Star News. January 7, 2022. Accessed April 20, 2024. https://www.starnewsonline.com/story/news/2022/01/07/justice-coalition-calls-re-election-recent-nc-naacp-officer-elections/9130716002/
  5. Cross, Jamey. “Group questions state NAACP elections, including New Hanover native elected president.” Wilmington Star News. January 7, 2022. Accessed April 20, 2024. https://www.starnewsonline.com/story/news/2022/01/07/justice-coalition-calls-re-election-recent-nc-naacp-officer-elections/9130716002/
  6. “Mission and Vision.” North Carolina NAACP. Accessed April 20, 2024. https://ncnaacp.org/mission-vision/
  7. “Leadership.” North Carolina NAACP. Accessed April 20, 2024. https://ncnaacp.org/leadership/
  8. “History.” North Carolina NAACP. Accessed April 20, 2024. https://ncnaacp.org/history/
  9. “History.” North Carolina NAACP. Accessed April 20, 2024. https://ncnaacp.org/history/
  10. Kane, Dan. “Several NC NAACP leaders resign over dispute with out-of-state administrator.” Raleigh News and Observer. March 19, 2023. Accessed April 21, 2024. https://www.newsobserver.com/news/state/north-carolina/article273266610.html
  11. “Leadership.” North Carolina NAACP. Accessed April 20, 2024. https://ncnaacp.org/leadership/
  12. “Leadership.” North Carolina NAACP. Accessed April 20, 2024. https://ncnaacp.org/leadership/
  13. “IRS revokes tax-exempt status of North Carolina NAACP.” Associated Press. August 31, 2022. Accessed April 21, 2024. https://apnews.com/article/north-carolina-personal-taxes-raleigh-naacp-f637443638d3ed3e96405955bf43db76
  14. Cross, Jamey. “Group questions state NAACP elections, including New Hanover native elected president.” Wilmington Star News. January 7, 2022. Accessed April 20, 2024. https://www.starnewsonline.com/story/news/2022/01/07/justice-coalition-calls-re-election-recent-nc-naacp-officer-elections/9130716002/
  15. Kane, Dan. “NC NAACP tumult continues: Latest disciplinary move by national office draws fire.” Raleigh News and Observer. March 16, 2023. Accessed April 21, 2024. https://www.newsobserver.com/news/state/north-carolina/article273214595.html
  16.  Cross, Jamey. “Group questions state NAACP elections, including New Hanover native elected president.” Wilmington Star News. January 7, 2022. Accessed April 20, 2024. https://www.starnewsonline.com/story/news/2022/01/07/justice-coalition-calls-re-election-recent-nc-naacp-officer-elections/9130716002/
  17. Cross, Jamey. “Group questions state NAACP elections, including New Hanover native elected president.” Wilmington Star News. January 7, 2022. Accessed April 20, 2024. https://www.starnewsonline.com/story/news/2022/01/07/justice-coalition-calls-re-election-recent-nc-naacp-officer-elections/9130716002/
  18. “IRS revokes tax-exempt status of North Carolina NAACP.” Associated Press. August 31, 2022. Accessed April 21, 2024. https://apnews.com/article/north-carolina-personal-taxes-raleigh-naacp-f637443638d3ed3e96405955bf43db76
  19.  Kane, Dan. “NC NAACP tumult continues: Latest disciplinary move by national office draws fire.” Raleigh News and Observer. March 16, 2023. Accessed April 21, 2024. https://www.newsobserver.com/news/state/north-carolina/article273214595.html
  20. Kane, Dan. “NC NAACP president earns second term with majority of vote.” Raleigh News Observer. October 2, 2023. Accessed April 20, 2024. https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article279995369.html
  21. Chapin, Josh. “NC NAACP loses tax-exempt status over failure to file certain tax forms.” WTVD ABC 11 News. August 31, 2022. Accessed April 20, 2024. https://abc11.com/irs-nc-naacp-taxes-non-exempt-status/12180583/
  22. Kane, Dan. “NC NAACP tumult continues: Latest disciplinary move by national office draws fire.” Raleigh News and Observer. March 16, 2023. Accessed April 21, 2024. https://www.newsobserver.com/news/state/north-carolina/article273214595.html
  23. Kane, Dan. “Several NC NAACP leaders resign over dispute with out-of-state administrator.” Raleigh News and Observer. March 19, 2023. Accessed April 21, 2024. https://www.newsobserver.com/news/state/north-carolina/article273266610.html
  24.  Chapin, Josh. “NC NAACP loses tax-exempt status over failure to file certain tax forms.” WTVD ABC 11 News. August 31, 2022. Accessed April 20, 2024. https://abc11.com/irs-nc-naacp-taxes-non-exempt-status/12180583/
  25. Kane, Dan. “NC NAACP tumult continues: Latest disciplinary move by national office draws fire.” Raleigh News and Observer. March 16, 2023. Accessed April 21, 2024. https://www.newsobserver.com/news/state/north-carolina/article273214595.html
  26. Kane, Dan. “NC NAACP president earns second term with majority of vote.” Raleigh News Observer. October 2, 2023. Accessed April 20, 2024. https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article279995369.html
  27. Kane, Dan. “NC NAACP tumult continues: Latest disciplinary move by national office draws fire.” Raleigh News and Observer. March 16, 2023. Accessed April 21, 2024. https://www.newsobserver.com/news/state/north-carolina/article273214595.html
  28. Kane, Dan. “NC NAACP tumult continues: Latest disciplinary move by national office draws fire.” Raleigh News and Observer. March 16, 2023. Accessed April 21, 2024. https://www.newsobserver.com/news/state/north-carolina/article273214595.html
  29.  Kane, Dan. “NC NAACP president earns second term with majority of vote.” Raleigh News Observer. October 2, 2023. Accessed April 20, 2024. https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article279995369.html
  30. Chapin, Josh. “NC NAACP loses tax-exempt status over failure to file certain tax forms.” WTVD ABC 11 News. August 31, 2022. Accessed April 20, 2024. https://abc11.com/irs-nc-naacp-taxes-non-exempt-status/12180583/
  31. Kane, Dan. “NAACP branches get IRS tax-exempt status restored, civil rights group says.” Raleigh News and Observer. March 23, 2023. Accessed April 21, 2024. https://www.newsobserver.com/news/nation-world/national/article273423825.html
  32. Kane, Dan. “NAACP branches get IRS tax-exempt status restored, civil rights group says.” Raleigh News and Observer. March 23, 2023. Accessed April 21, 2024. https://www.newsobserver.com/news/nation-world/national/article273423825.html
  33. “North Carolina NAACP v. North Carlina State Board of Elections.” Free Speech for the People. Accessed April 21, 2024. https://freespeechforpeople.org/north-carolina-naacp-v-north-carolina-state-board-of-elections/
  34. “IRS revokes tax-exempt status of North Carolina NAACP.” Associated Press. August 31, 2022. Accessed April 21, 2024. https://apnews.com/article/north-carolina-personal-taxes-raleigh-naacp-f637443638d3ed3e96405955bf43db76
  35. Press Release. “Breaking: Civil Rights Groups File State Lawsuit Over North Carolina Redistricting Failure.” Accessed April 21, 2024. https://southerncoalition.org/breaking-civil-rights-groups-file-state-lawsuit-over-north-carolina-redistricting-failures/
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North Carolina NAACP


Raleigh, NC