Latest Outrage: NAACP Charges Poll Tax — November 2015

Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman November 27th, 2015

In November 2014 the Cincinnati Branch of the NAACP was scheduled to hold its election; National Representative, Gill Ford and a few corrupt local individuals attempted to suppress members’ votes in order to assure their guy would win, and a local judge issued a Temporary Restraining Order against them to stop the election. That’s right; the NAACP was attempting to suppress members’ votes while at the same time railing against Ohio’s voting rights laws. To deflect attention from their evil practices, the National NAACP filed a federal complaint accusing local officers of fraud and malfeasance, all of which was totally false.

After several court hearings a settlement was reached. In reference to a new election, the agreement states: “Only members of the NAACP who were eligible to vote in the Cincinnati Branch election as of October 24, 2014, will be eligible to vote in the special election.” Despite no mention of fees for this retroactive election, the NAACP is charging some of its branch members a $30.00 “Poll Tax” to cast their votes.

To add insult to injury, the national office suspended the current President, allowing Rob Richardson, the candidate in cahoots with Gill Ford, to run unopposed for the top position; and his son, Rob Jr., is in charge of the election committee! Election or “selection”? Additionally, members were supposed to get a 15-day advance notice of the election, to be held on December 2, 2015. As of November 20, 2015 only some had received it, and that’s only 12 days’ notice. NAACP officials even violate their own rules!

The NAACP is immersed in a disgusting, embarrassing, and troubling environment that has the stench of corruption, collusion, and greed in many cities across this nation. The venerable organization is embroiled in what seems to be a pervasive evil that has emanated from being what many call “the Big Dog,” and having the ability to commit its malicious acts with impunity. The national office of the NAACP treats its members like peons whose only purpose and worth are couched in how much money they can send to the “Big Dog.” After all, big dogs have big appetites.

NAACP “Dirty tricks,” aided by crooked state officers, are taking place in other Ohio cities as well as across the country. Like Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus have either been in court, in chaos, and/or in a state of confusion due to corrupt elections. In full blown hypocrisy, the NAACP uses elections to keep its proletariat class in check. That’s right. The inviolable, sacred, put-on-your-marching-shoes, “Let’s get ready to rumble,” precious vote is used and misused by the NAACP to maintain their fiefdom in Baltimore and their mini-fiefdoms in various states.

In two consecutive Ohio state elections, Jocelyn Travis defeated Sybil McNabb (2013 and 2015). Both elections were overturned by national officials. McNabb, the national’s chosen candidate (Or should I say lackey?) challenged each election and was reinstalled as President. Travis filed complaints and sent inquiries to the national office but never received information on the nature of those challenges.

Here’s the worst part: After Travis won the 2013 race, a new election was called and presided over by Gill Ford (He has the nerve to call himself “Reverend”), during which children were recruited and coached by McNabb, and then allowed to cast votes. Of course, McNabb “won.” After winning the November 2015 state election, Travis received a letter from national officials saying McNabb had challenged the election (No explanation given); Travis was ordered to “turn everything back over” to former President, Sybil McNabb. What a sham and a scam!

The Circuit Court Judge in the Crittenden Arkansas decision said it best, “. . .the intervenor (National NAACP) seems to regard itself as a feudal liege, the member branches, in general its fiefdom . . .If the court had the least doubt about the utter disdain that its orders are held by the intervenor (National NAACP), the testimony of its principals (National NAACP Staff) has put that doubt to rest.”

Even while it is entangled in court battles, even as it was ordered to pay the West Memphis, Arkansas branch $120,000 for its malpractices, even as it is scheduled to hold its national convention in Cincinnati, the city where they have initiated a presidential “selection” of Rob Richardson, who is being investigated by the Ohio Election Commission, the NAACP flaunts its corruption for all to see. It is perplexing that rank and file members allow corrupt national and state NAACP personnel to treat them like slaves rather than respected and dedicated volunteers.

Prompting and allowing children to vote is a terrible example of how to conduct fair elections; as future members those youth will do the same thing. Overturning elections without explaining why and ignoring reciprocal complaints and requests for clarity are hypocritical acts by an organization known for fighting against such practices. Violating their own rules is an arrogant act of disdain for NAACP bedrock foundational principles. And charging what is tantamount to a poll tax is outrageous and beneath what little dignity the national NAACP has left.

Local members must stand up and speak out against this corruption and withhold their money from the national NAACP until it changes its awful practices. More to come.



Beyond T-Shirts and Hoodies — November 2015

Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman November 13th, 2015

Recollections of my 1995 article on the business of college athletics danced in my head when I heard the news about the University of Missouri football team’s refusal to play until the President of that University, Tim Wolfe, resigns or is dismissed. The players said, “due to his negligence toward marginalized students’ experience” and his lax attitude regarding racial issues on campus, they would no longer participate in football activities. (Prior to the publishing date for this article, Tim Wolfe resigned.)

As I noted in 1995, and in several articles on college athletics and the billions of dollars they generate, money is the name of the game. When coaches of college teams earn several million dollars per year and half-billion dollar stadiums are being built, the actual laborers, the players, get lost in the shuffle.

Well, the players on the University of Missouri football team are far from being invisible as they are making a statement that has divulged an economic vulnerability. By the time you read this the situation may have been resolved, but even if it is there are lessons to be learned and actions to be replicated from this case.

According to an article on CBS Sports, “Canceling game with BYU would cost Mizzou $1,000,000.” Everything boils down to dollars, if you look deeply enough, and the young men on Missouri’s team are illuminating that reality by their actions. The same thing could be done in professional athletics as well, in an effort to change the business as usual approach to racial inequities and mistreatment in the general society. It would be much more effective than t-shirts and hoodies.

Instead of wearing shirts with a nice-sounding slogan on them, or hoodies that connote illegal killings of Black folks, black armbands, or writing something on their shoes, Missouri football players chose the “nuclear option,” as some in Congress would call it. They put their prospective livelihoods on the line, and they put their scholarships on the line by actually doing something substantive rather than symbolic in response to their legitimate concerns about the conditions on their campus.

The sacrifice these young people are making cannot be overstated, and I commend them for being strong and committed enough to put core values before fame. I also hope the issue is resolved before this article goes to press; while they deserve our support and accolades, they should not have to suffer a loss of individual scholarships and their chances to make it to the professional ranks simply because they took a principled stand against racism. Other athletes have already fought that battle and some are still paying the price decades later.

Tommie Smith, John Carlos, Muhammad Ali, Curt Flood, and Craig Hodges, just to name a few, took their stands against the system and took the blows that their peers were unwilling to take. They paid a hefty price for having the temerity to stand up and speak out. The Missouri football players now find themselves in a crucible of consciousness, and we should stand with them and assure that they do not suffer the same fate as their forerunners. If they are “blacklisted” by the NFL, Black people—and other sympathizers should boycott NFL games.

I pray that someone other than the usual suspects, who are simply looking for the nearest camera, microphone, and a big check to boot, will come to the students’ aide and help them work out their situation in the long term. They have done their part by exposing the underbelly of racial mistreatment at the University, and they have also exposed the school to a financial liability that more than likely does not end with Brigham Young University. How many more games are on Missouri’s schedule?

The economic lesson from the players’ threatened “work stoppage,” juxtaposed against Jonathan Butler’s life-threatening hunger strike, is quite revealing. Missouri2 Butler’s life was virtually ignored, but when the dollars came into play things changed right away. The message: A Black life does not matter, but Black dollars do matter. Considering all the critical issues facing Black people in this country, we would do well to use economic power instead of relying on political influence to make appropriate changes to our overall condition.

We should celebrate the Missouri players for taking the “road less traveled” as they fight for their rights on their campus; they chose substance over symbolism, action over passivity. Rather than merely wearing their complaints on their chests or their shoes, they chose to wear their concerns on their hearts by letting the world know they are quite serious; they took their protest to the only level that gets results—the economic level. Much respect to those young men and their supporters at Missouri University.



Can I get an Amen? — November 2015

Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman November 7th, 2015

On December 3, 2015 the Collective Empowerment Group (CEG), formerly known as the Collective Banking Group (CBG) of Prince George’s County and Vicinity, will celebrate a milestone achievement: Its 20th Anniversary. The CEG was established in 1995 by twenty-one churches, in response to discrimination and mistreatment by banks, some of which had financed church buildings but refused to make loans thereafter for renovations and business development.

Instead of wringing their hands, whining, and begging the banks to change, Jonathan Weaver, Pastor of Greater Mt. Nebo A.M.E. Church, rallied a few of his fellow ministers to respond appropriately to those banks. They used their collective leverage, via the members’ of their respective congregations, to obtain reciprocity from the banks that they chose to be “in covenant” with. Banks began to “compete” for the churches’ business by coming to the leaders of the CEG to make their presentations. In other words the banks did not interview the churches; rather, the churches interviewed the banks.

Important to note are the reciprocal relationships that evolved from the initiative of the churches and their refusal to continue doing business as usual. Both sides won. The banks understood the value of being in what was called a “covenant relationship” with this newly formed dynamic group, and the churches understood the leverage they had by working collectively and cooperatively, across theological persuasions, toward business solutions for their members.

The CBG became the CEG as a result of its growth from 21 churches to nearly 150 churches comprising 175,000 members and its desire to involve itself in other business relationships. The CEG’s aim was to be more holistic in its approach to the myriad of issues affecting the daily lives of Black people. Thus, as a result of CBG leadership recognizing the possibilities of doing even more business with other retailers, i.e. furniture stores, carpet outlets, and organizations involved in health, politics, insurance, professional services, and supplies, the name was changed along with the organization’s scope of service. Not-for-profit entities were also invited to work with the CEG, again creating mutually beneficial relationships and opportunities not ordinarily available.

The CEG Strategic Partners, usually small business owners and service providers, not only gain access to the individual members of the CEG with whom they can do business; they respond by offering discounts and other special considerations to the CEG members. Having helped start a chapter of the CEG in Cincinnati, Ohio, I can personally attest to the benefits offered by CEG Strategic Partner businesses.

Innovative, practical, bold, and beneficial are just a few words that describe the CEG, its leadership, and individual members and partners. CEG churches do not continue to complain about how they are mistreated despite spending significant amounts with businesses and depositing large sums of money into banks that do not reciprocate. CEG churches take the issue into their own hands, first by understanding the power of leverage and then by being willing to address any inequities that exist in their business relationships via their collective clout.

Just imagine the economic progress we would make if hundreds and even thousands more Black churches throughout this country would form CEG chapters and replicate what has been done in the original chapter and now in other local chapters. After all, as Willie Sutton once said, “That’s where the [Black] money is.”

Although I have written several newspaper columns about the CEG, I never tire of doing so because it has done such great work in the area of economic empowerment. And because I hear so many of our brothers and sisters asking, “What are the churches doing?” I am compelled to share CEG with any and all who will listen. Many churches across the country are doing some fantastic things on an individual basis; that cannot be denied. The CEG demonstrates what can be done collectively, and it graphically illustrates that there is, indeed, power in numbers. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to write about this outstanding organization, and I will continue to sing its praises for spreading the gospel of economic empowerment.

You can celebrate with the CEG and learn more about how it began and what it is doing now by attending their 20th Anniversary Gala in Bowie, Maryland. For more information just go to or call 301 699 8449.

Kudos, Congrats, and Bravos to the CEG, its visionary, Pastor Jonathan Weaver, and its current leadership, President Anthony G. Maclin and Executive Director, Dr. Diane H. Johnson. Just as important are all of those who followed their lead, locally and nationally, to establish what has now become a two decades-old successful organization.

Can I get an Amen?



Dearth of Black media ownership — November 2015

Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman November 1st, 2015

In war, one of the first things the enemy does is destroy his adversary’s ability to communicate within its ranks. Chaos likely ensues if a fighting force cannot communicate internally. Individual soldiers end up doing their own thing, left to their own devices; they make decisions based on their individual situations and in their individual interests. This allows the enemy to come in and pick them off one by one, using false information and propaganda (Tokyo Rose), instilling fear of being captured or killed, or by making the individual feel abandoned and left with no hope of victory.

If the ability to communicate is maintained within a fighting force, it strengthens the group and provides confidence, assurance, and cohesion. Considering our penchant for soundbites, 140-character chirps, and listening to great speeches but not analyzing them and taking appropriate action, communication among Black folks has largely been reduced to little more than noise. And it’s getting worse.

Black newspapers used to be our main communication organ, but as the demand for electronic access to news has increased, newspapers have nearly become obsolete in some circles. Books were also a great source of communication because they contain so much knowledge written by scholars, historians, educators, and activists; but now we are so intellectually lazy that books have become passé and just something to brag about having on our bookshelves. Now we rely on Twitter and Face Book for our news.

Newspapers, radio, Internet, and television are the four dominant means of communications today. Black people still own a few hundred newspapers, many of which are struggling from week to week because Black folks do not subscribe nor do Black businesses buy ads to any large degree.

Black ownership of radio stations has drastically decreased in the past twenty years. Aside from a couple of great Black owned Internet wire services, “Black oriented” sites are not Black owned; and two of the three longstanding Black magazines, Essence and Ebony, have been reduced to fashion and entertainment, leaving Black Enterprise to carry the load of informing Black folks on economic issues. (I don’t mean to overlook other Black periodicals; I know they are out there getting the word out as best they can.)

Now let’s look at television. According to an article in TV News Check, June 27, 2014, written by Doug Halonen, “Whites owned 1,070 full-power commercial TV stations in 2013, up 14% from the 935 they owned in 2011. Racial minorities owned 41 of the U.S.’s 1,386 full-power commercial TV stations in 2013, up 32% from the thirty-one they owned in 2011— but only nine of those stations were owned by African Americans during 2013, down 18% from the eleven they owned two years previously, according to a study of station ownership released by the FCC…”

The FCC report also found that “Asians owned nineteen full-power TV stations in 2013, up 73% from the eleven they owned in 2011. Hispanics or Latinos owned forty-two full power TV stations in 2013, up 8% from the thirty-nine they owned in 2011.”

I guess I could end this article right here, but without application, knowledge and information are without effect. The obvious point here is the necessity for Black people to own more communications outlets in order to control and disseminate pertinent information to Black people. How? Establish syndicates that could purchase more outlets; form an alliance of affluent and conscious Blacks to purchase communications outlets and produce programs to empower rather than dumb-down Black people. Increase support of Black owned media and their advertisers by Black consumers; leverage the support of Black readers, listeners, and viewers of Black media by insisting on more than just mind-numbing idiotic portrayals of Black folks. These simple tactics could strengthen our lines of communications.

Accessibility, accountability, and acceptability are essential elements to a strong and relevant media presence within Black society. Our current position in that game is untenable and tenuous at best. In light of the fact that we have the financial wherewithal, collectively and individually, to purchase and support media outlets, it is intriguing how we seem to have settled for much less than we need.

Most of us understand and even admit we are in a war, behind enemy lines, and fighting for respect and empowerment. That being the case, why are we content with having our lines of communication controlled by others? If we are reluctant to acquire more conscious media outlets, the least we can do is hold those who purport to be “Black media” accountable by refusing to accept the trashy caricatures of Black people and the negative portrayals of Black life that bombard us every day.

Without control of communications an army is severely handicapped. We had better get rid of our negative channels of communications, shore up the positive ones, and create more of our own.