Mfume Out, But NAACP’s Troubles Remain
By Earl Ofari Hutchinson, AlterNet
Posted on December 2, 2004, Printed on December 2, 2004
NAACP President Kweisi Mfume said all the right things when he announced his resignation. He praised the work of the organization, its top officials, promised to seek new challenges, and said he’d spend more time with his family. Despite Mfume’s sweetness and light words, he bailed out at a time when trouble is brewing for the nation’s oldest civil rights organization. The membership has stagnated, and the IRS is knocking hard on its door to see if it violated its non-partisan tax-exempt status with Bush bashing speeches by NAACP Chairman Julian Bond, and the NAACP’s over the top tout of Democratic candidates.
The NAACP can’t drum up new members because it has been missing in action in recent years on many of the crisis issues that tear black communities. The NAACP wasted valuable time, energy and resources fighting with South Carolina officials over whether the Confederate flag should be removed from the statehouse. The flag is a repulsive, antique symbol of the South’s grotesque racial past. But it’s just that, a symbol. If South Carolina had stuffed the flag in a museum vault, it would’ve been a hollow victory. It would not have saved one black farm, improved failing public schools, increased funds for historically black colleges, created more jobs, or reduced poverty for South Carolina’s blacks.