NAACP activates legal strategy








Local branch joins Doug Mann in Sports Authority law suit


One of the traditional strengths of the NAACP movement has been its shrewd planning for taking legal action against those violating rights of African Americans. When you think of the successes of NAACP legal redress committees, you think of such leaders as Walter White, Roy Wilkens and Thurgood Marshall, as well as such historic actions and legal milestones as the 1954 decision of Brown vs. Board of Education and Martin Luther King’s 1968 Poor Peoples March.

The legal redress committee, a historic pillar of strength of NAACP branches across America fighting for African American civil rights, is seen once again in the local NAACP branch’s crafty move on the legal front to join the suit of long time NAACP member Doug Mann against the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) for its failure to meet its diversity pledge.

With the appointment of long time local branch NAACP supporter Louis King to its executive committee, the trap door has been slammed shut on the MSFA. It is clear that Louis King and others would be the chief negotiators in a significant financial settlement involving the NAACP groups organized to carry this out.

The MSFA failure to create a diverse work force is clear. Its time of stalling by again saying “wait” has run out (see Martin Luther King, Jr.’s seminal 1963 book regarding Why We Can’t Wait. Hint: injustice and unfairness).

We understand the historic and brilliant legal redress strategy to support the action initiated by NAACP member Doug Mann. The MSFA shell game has been exposed. After all of the chest-thumping bragging, we see the MSFA cannot show an equity or affirmative action plan on either the front end or back end of whatever plan the MSFA has talked about (hence Louis King’s statement that only 100 workers are on board stadium construction now with the majority not until mid-2015). No wonder the NAACP is officially joining with Mr. Mann.

Now it will be even tougher for the State Supreme Court to reject the NAACP legal brief to be heard on this matter of a continued violation of the civil rights of Black Americans and others of color. This column will be watching closely as announcements are made of pending legal actions against the MSFA’s misrepresented commitment to equity and inclusion of African Americans in jobs at and contracts for stadium construction by the MSFA.

The sleeping giant of the NAACP, re-awakened, marches with its time-honored NAACP legal redress committee strategy. It is a bright day, a triumphant day. The local NAACP branch joins a long line of legal redress committees in the forefront of successful challenges and strategies as used by Thurgood Marshall, Nellie Stone Johnson, and Cecil Newman, etc., who would be proud of this very clever plan being activated.

The financial settlement should be significant for the economic future of African Americans in Minneapolis and throughout the state. Of those involved, we know “the color of their skin.” Now we’ll learn about “the content of their character.”

To the graduating class of Morehead college in 1959, Martin Luther King, Jr said, ”An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” In his 1963, “Letter from a Birmingham jail,” Dr. King wrote: ”The question is not whether we will be extremists but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or the extension of justice?”

Stay tuned.


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