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Letter from national branch reactivates Livingstone NAACP

The NAACP is officially back at Livingstone College after a multi-year year period of being declared inactive because of compliance issues.

Two weeks ago, the college received a letter from the national branch of the NAACP reinstating Livingstone’s students as an official branch of the NAACP. Troy Russell, a campus minister at Livingstone who helped organize the effort, said the college branch was inactive for seven years. It now has 52 members. The college group is planning a formal banquet for April 9 to celebrate the reinstatement.

Russell said the Livingstone chapter could realistically advocate for any social injustice students were concerned about.

“For me, it feels like the students now have a voice,” Russell said. “They are now able to participate with other college campuses in events and be more viable in the community.”

The Livingstone chapter of the NAACP already has a president and vice president, but will have another election as an official chapter before spring commencement ceremonies. The leader of the student chapter will have a seat on the Salisbury-Rowan NAACP’s executive committee, according to the group’s constitution. Salisbury-Rowan NAACP President Scott Teamer said he expects the two groups to work together on issues such as voting rights. In previous years, Teamer said a rift existed between the local and college NAACP.

“I’m very supportive of the students at Livingstone. They’re our future,” said Teamer. “We’ve got some manpower now. Our young folks give us energy and they’re the key to our future. The history of the civil rights movement couldn’t have happened without young people.”

In response to the Livingstone chapter being declared active, Jimmy Jenkins, the college’s president, said the NAACP would provide a perspective for students and society at large.

“One of the tenets of the contract that Livingstone College students sign upon entering the college is a commitment to civic responsibility,” Jenkins said. “I believe the NAACP will help students identify issues that fall in the category of civic responsibility and offer them an opportunity to participate in creating a better quality of life for all of us.”

Teamer said the Livingstone branch was out of compliance for a period of time, which lead to it being declared inactive. Training is one example of compliance that’s required, Teamer said.

“Training is mandatory because the laws change,” he said. “So, if you don’t meet the standards, the NAACP will render you inactive or dismantle your charter. We were lucky that they weren’t dismantled, but the Livingstone branch was inactive.”

The reactivation of the college chapter is a continuation of a history that dates back to the 1920s.

The Livingstone chapter of the NAACP was formed in 1927, according to a letter housed at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. The letter, sent on May 3 to W.E.B. DuBois states the student chapter was formed on April 27, 1927. It also lists the officers and executive committee members of the student branch.

At the time the letter was sent, DuBois was editor of The Crisis — a magazine that’s still published today by the NAACP. DuBois also founded the magazine in 1910.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.

 

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