UNCP NAACP meets with
Rev. Dr. Barber in Lumberton
By Hannah Simpson
Around the Town Editor
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) will continue to exist as long as there is racial discrimination, North Carolina NAACP President Rev. Dr. William Barber II said Aug. 21 at the African American Culture Center in Lumberton.
Barber spoke to an audience of more than 60 people about the vision the organization holds, describing objectives for education, health, labor rights, economic empowerment, civic engagement and criminal justice advancement of minorities as a special guest of the Unified Robeson County NAACP Chapter.
“We celebrate the victories, but we don’t forget that we still must fight the good fight of faith,” he said.
The organization hosted the Historic K on Jones Street in February, when 5,000 people marched in Raleigh to the State Legislature Building while promoting The People’s Agenda. Barber described the Agenda as a plan of action that is aimed at helping minorities in education, labor, health care and housing; it also calls for removing troops from the Middle East.
UNC-Pembroke NAACP chapter President J.T. Batchelor raised concerns over “Jena 6” controversy, where several black students sat under the “white-only” tree at their high school last year. The next day, white students had tied three nooses in the school colors to the same tree.
The students were suspended three days for hanging the nooses; not long after, a racial fight broke out and six black students were charged with attempted murder for beating a white teenager.
The case proves the necessity of organizations such as NAACP, Barber said. The organization is attempting to help the students by calling on the Louisiana Governor and the Attorney General to thoroughly investigate in a manner that is just and without bias, Barber said.
Barber said that most people don’t realize that NAACP is not an organization for the Black population, but for all ethnicities.
“It’s not a Black organization or a White organization,” he said. “It’s a justice organization; that’s our history.”
Civil rights and justice don’t always happen quickly, Barber said. He said the work of the NAACP helped pave the road for equality.
“I was very proud and moved to see the unification of the Robeson branch of NAACP,” Batchelor said. Batchelor said he would like to implement Barber’s ideals on organization in order to a more successful term as president of the UNCP chapter.
Pembroke Chamber of Commerce president and UNCP chapter adviser Robert Canida praised the organization.
“Under (Batchelor’s) leadership, the organization will really be moving forward.”