Home Muhammad Philly NAACP election marks new start after controversial president

Philly NAACP election marks new start after controversial president


Members of the Philadelphia NAACP vote on Saturday to choose a new president, ending a turbulent period in the history of one of the city’s oldest civil rights groups.

The result is predicted with Catherine Hicks, editor of the Philadelphia Sunday Sun, presenting itself without opposition. The remaining positions are also unchallenged, with many candidates already occupying managerial positions.

“It’s a new day. It’s a new beginning,” said Hicks, standing outside the group’s headquarters on Germantown Avenue in the Nicetown section. The chapter was founded in 1911 and has over 1,200 life members. , she said.

The chapter was embroiled in controversy in 2020 after then-president Rodney Muhammad posted an anti-Semitic image on his Facebook page. Governor Tom Wolf and Mayor Jim Kenney were among those calling for Muhammad’s resignation.

Muhammad, who had held the post since 2014, was ousted in July 2020 after the executive committee voted to dissolve and relinquish full leadership in the national office, which appointed a new leadership of the Philadelphia chapter until an election.

Muhammad, who worked as a paid political consultant for Kenney until last year, first told The Inquirer that he didn’t realize the image – which included a caricature of a hook-nosed figure and wearing a kippah on the sleeve of an invisible person who is crushing a mass of people with a hand covered with rings – was offensive. Kenney criticized the post and asked Muhammad to apologize.

An administrator has headed the chapter for a year. Saturday’s election was originally scheduled for November 2020. Candidates for office submitted petitions at the last general membership meeting.

This was the second time in six years that the National NAACP had stepped in to make changes to the leadership of the Philadelphia Chapter.

J. Whyatt Mondesire, longtime chapter president, was removed in April 2014, along with board members Sid Booker, Donald “Ducky” Birts and Reverend Elisha Morris.

The four were longtime friends and allies before a very public falling out turned into a lawsuit over how Mondesire handled the Chapter’s finances. Mondésire died in 2015.

Longtime member Hicks said she hopes to focus on crime, schools and gentrification. A festival of unity is scheduled for July 31, she said. She currently sits on the executive committee.

“We want to change all the misconceptions people have about the past,” Hicks said. “My vision is to put the Philadelphia chapter back on the map. “

Members began entering the NAACP office on Saturday shortly after polling stations opened at 11 a.m. Many warmly greeted Hicks before voting on paper. In addition to the leaders, the candidates are also running for unchallenged seats on the executive committee.

“Easiest election ever,” joked longtime member Linda Miller, 72. She added that the NAACP is “more necessary than ever,” given recent attacks by lawmakers across the country to reduce voting rights.

Closing of the polling stations at 3 p.m. The newly elected list will be installed Sunday by Judge Sharon Williams-Losier in a 3 p.m. ceremony at Mount Airy Church of God and Christ, 6401 Ogontz Ave.

This is a developing story.


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