Sunday, March 26, 2023


                                                              MS. SYLVIA BARNES



By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

Ms. Sylvia Barnes, suspended  secretary of the NAACP state conference of branches, has issued an email titled “Let’s Come Together” to friends and former colleagues of the NAACP, inviting them to help put together a special event where she "can be heard."

“ I can’t call this an NAACP event because my membership was suspended, Ms. Barnes, 75, wrote last week. “I believe the tragedy that has occurred in my life can be turned into something that will make history and will long be remembered.”

Ms. Barnes was formally suspended as an NAACP member and officer during the Feb. 17th Annual Meeting of the national NAACP Board of Directors, according to a letter she received from national NAACP Pres./CEO Derrick Johnson March 10, 2023.

The letter said that a hearing was held without Barnes being present, and a recommendation for her suspension was made by NC NAACP Administrator and board member Gloria Sweetlove.

Barnes had been an NAACP member since the age of 14 and secretary of the NC NAACP since 1995.

We are a strong people with the wisdom, knowledge and understanding God has given us,” Ms. Barnes continued in her missive. “God has a reason for everything.  We can have speakers, vendors, singing and a good old fashion time. I need people to help with the planning and advertising. Your suggestions for speakers are welcome. [Former NC NAACP Treasurer] Gerald [Givens] has been traveling across the country giving workshops on police brutality so we can include him. Now is the time for us to know what is happening in your county which will include the good and the bad.”

Givens had also been suspended at the same time that Ms. Barnes was by the board.

“Yes, I have been hurt but let us use the gifts and talent God has given us," Ms. Barnes continued.

At press time, there was no confirmation that an event was indeed scheduled, nor a definite location or time established. In a subsequent email. Ms. Barnes called or a “strong committee” to plan the gathering.

“My goal is not to try and destroy [NC NAACP Pres.Ms. Deborah] Maxwell but to give me the opportunity to be heard," Ms. Barnes wrote in a March 23 email about the purpose of the suggested event.

Clearly the suspension of Ms. Barnes from her membership and office with the NC NAACP has “hurt” her personally, after so many years of service. But what has happened to her also seems to have opened her eyes to a dramatic change in the leadership of the national  and state NAACP that several others before her have warned about.

    In another open letter Barnes wrote dated March 22, 2023, , and addressed to the Black Press, local media, North Carolina media, national media and various officials of the state and national NAACP titled “Who am I #2 - My Suspension from the Board,” Ms Barnes wrote that the suspension letter from NAACP Pres./CEO Derrick Johnson was a ‘lie.”

She reiterated that she was never informed of a suspension hearing because she never requested one. Ms. Barnes then questioned whether the NAACP is true to its founding principles.

“The mission statement of this organization should cease to be read until we are ready to uphold our own mission statement,” she wrote. ‘Branches that must pay assessments to be in compliance should be stopped.  Membership drives should cease to be held. Small branches struggle to pay the state assessment of $1,250 per year.  Branches are required to pay national (Freedom Fund Assessment) 25% of their net proceeds after all expenses of their events (fund raising) should no longer be in place.  2021 and 2022 National suspended this requirement. The entire national board should be removed and new people elected. Many of them have been there for years and are not interested in what happens but just to say I am a member of the National Board.  They are mot handling the business of this organization just going along with whatever is brought before them.  That is not fair and equal justice for the people that support this organization.  Membership money is the source of this organization and for national, state conferences and local branches, the money they receive from corporate sponsors, churches, fraternities, sororities, unions, partners and others need to stop." 

Ms. Barnes continued,  "It is my feeling that corporate sponsors still need to support the local branches in their communities that are doing the work of civil rights.  I will ask them not to give their money just because they get a letter asking them for an ad and a contribution and their name will be put in the souvenir booklet but support them on the basis of what they do in the communities. The local branches should come first.” 

  “Over the past 114 years, there have been many marches, rallies, conventions, and regional meetings. People across this country have suffered many disappointments whether in a national election, local election or state election. There have been many disappointments of events and other actions that have happened on the local level.” 

 Barnes continued, “I want everyone to understand that I love the NAACP and in no way will I ever try and degrade this organization that has been and is still considered the "Biggest, Baddest, Boldest, most feared" organization in this nation, but we need new leadership.  I am ready to take off in my car (Baby Blue, 2008 Grand Mercury Marquis with over 400,000+ miles) to leave copies of my story in post offices, community centers, libraries, and other public places so that other people will not have to endure what I have gone through over the last three weeks.  I still ask the questions, what have I neglected to do in performing my duties as the state conference secretary, why did [Executive Director] DaQuan [Love], [NC NAACP Pres.] Deborah [Maxwell], and [NC NAACP Administrator  Gloria] Sweet-Love ban together, meet secretly and ask for the suspension of my membership?"

“I want to know in writing [what] that means and why I have never been told of anything I have done wrong in this organization,” Ms. Barnes continued. “[NAACP Chairman] Leon Russell, NAACP Pres/CEO] Derrick Johnson, Gloria Sweet-Love, [Co-Administrator] Hazel Dukes, Deborah Maxwell, and the other 62 members of the National Board of the NAACP, please be women and men that will honor the mission of this organization and stand for JUSTICE for all people.  Special thanks to my brothers and sisters that resigned their membership on the state executive board last week.  This action shows love for others and your willingness to stand for Justice. God bless each of you and those that are COWARDS as well.”

Ms. Barnes ended her letter with, “The only person I have to answer to is the one that sits on His throne, GOD.”



                               NC SENATE DEMOCRATIC LEADER DAN BLUE




By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

It won’t be long before, once again, Gov. Cooper will have a ratified bill against teaching the racial history of African Americans and other people of color on his desk to sign, as happened in 2021.

And just like two years ago, Cooper will refuse to sign the “conspiracy-laden” measure passed by both the Republican NC House and Senate. In 2021, because the GOP majorities in both the state House and Senate did not have supermajorities, Cooper’s veto was enough to beat back that legislative effort.

This time, however, the Republican-led state House passed House Bill 187 “Equality in Education” 68-49 last week, and have sent it onto the state Senate, where there is little doubt that the Republican majority there will pass it as well.

“…[T]his bill is a covert way to flatten our state’s history into a one-dimensional, easy-to-swallow pill, leaving no room for the triumphs and victories of people who fought hardest for the democracy and society we have today” wrote Democratic Senate Leader Dan Blue (Wake) in an op-ed piece recently.

While the Senate GOP has a supermajority with which to defeat any veto Democratic Gov. Cooper would wield to once again stop a measure that he and Democrats all agree would hide the true racial history of the United States and North Carolina from students, and punish teachers for the alleged “indoctrination” of students about that history, state House Republicans are one vote shy of a supermajority.

As long as every Democrat in the state House stands strong against passage of HB 187, Cooper can veto it with confidence, knowing that it will stick.

And that is the tenuous game of chicken the governor and the Democrats must play in order keep North Carolina from becoming like eighteen other states that have “…already limited how teachers can discuss racism and sexism in the classroom” according to the Associated Press. Nine other states are currently considering similar measures.

Here in North Carolina, Republicans are promoting the anti-Black history bill as one that “promotes” equality because it prohibits “…public school teachers from compelling [white] students to believe they should feel guilty or responsible for past actions committed by people of the same race or sex.”

Democrats are concerned with overly broad language contained in the bill, much of which sounds agreeable, like “Public school units shall not promote that one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex.”

But there is also language in the measure which states that “public school units shall not promote that the United States was created by members of a particular race or sex for the purpose of oppressing members of another race or sex,” with is factually and historically correct, most observers agree,

If a North Carolina teacher were to recount the history of slavery in America, for example, she or he would run the risk of running afoul of the law.

In addition, HB 187, if it becomes law, would require public school units to notify the NC Dept. of Instruction 30 days prior to any speakers, consultants or diversity trainers being scheduled to make presentations.

Even though the bill does not state this, Republicans are using passage to assure their supporters that they are outlawing CRT - critical race theory - from being taught in the state’s public schools.

In fact, CRT never was, or is being taught in public schools. Known as the study of how racism has inculcated American institutions throughout the nation’s history, CRT is primarily taught in law schools and on the university level.

But the hasn’t stopped Republicans in waging this politically profitable culture war against the true racial history of this nation.

Thus, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ outlawing African American Advance Studies lessons in that state’s secondary classrooms.

And citing DeSantis’ war against “woke indoctrination,” a Florida textbook publisher has removed any mention of civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks being a Black woman who defied Alabama segregation laws in the 1950s.

New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez noted in a Congressional speech on the House floor last week that the life of Rosa Parks was “too woke’ for the Republican Party. That didn’t stop the GOP-majority U.S. House from passing the federal “Parents Bill of Rights” last Friday, a bill that Republicans say would give parents more say in their children’s education. Democrats say if it becomes law, the bill would allow parents to censor important historical lessons in the classroom.

Back in North Carolina , the Republican-led NC General Assembly’s Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations has requested documents detailing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA) training throughout the 17 campus UNC System.

The written request wants a review of any subject matter in the DEIA that discusses diversity, equity, racism, anti-racism, oppression, systematic racism, white supremacy, unconscious bias, critical race theory or social justice, among others.

Several published reports note that this is  part of a national wave to kill what Republicans call “liberal indoctrination” at the nation’s universities.


Monday, March 20, 2023



NAACP PRES./CEO Derrick Johnson

                                    NC NAACP ADMINISTRATOR GLORIA SWEETLOVE





By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

When national NAACP President/CEO Derrick Johnson attended the NC NAACP Convention in Winston-Salem in 2019, he effectively cancelled the state conference elections because he had suspended the Rev. Curtis Gatewood, a state conference presidential candidate accused of the sexual harassment of a female member, thus allowing then incumbent President Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman to remain in office another two years beyond his original term.

But Johnson did something else consequential.

He assigned two national NAACP Board members - Hazel Dukes and Gloria Sweetlove - to serve as “administrators” over the North Carolina conference. That meant that as long as Sweetlove and Dukes were in place, the NC NAACP executive leadership had to follow their directives.

It soon became apparent that Administrator Sweetlove  - who was also the longtime president of the Tennessee  NAACP state conference, and also served as administrator for the Virginia state NAACP - would be the one making the final decisions for the NC NAACP whether then Pres. Spearman and the Executive Committee liked it or not.

One of her original assignments was to track down the source of alleged fiscal mismanagement.

That was 2019. It is now 2023, four years later, and Gloria Sweetlove is still the administrator in charge of oversight for the North Carolina state conference, to the continuing chagrin of many members.

So much so that on March 17th, a day after a contentious over four-hour Executive Committee meeting, 12 Executive Committee members, led by three of the four NC NAACP vice presidents, forwarded a joint letter of resignation to Administrators Sweetlove and Hazel Dukes, Conference President Deborah Maxwell and national Pres./CEO Derrick Johnson.

The very first line of the resignation letter stated that the March 16th executive committee meeting “…confirmed our most profound concerns about circumventing the constitutional authority of the North Carolina State Conference Executive Committee.

The spending of monies without discussion, approval, or ratification by the executive committee has only perpetuated the unrest in the state conference. The suspension of officers' membership charged with the duly elected responsibility to maintain and secure financial transparency has continued the ongoing unrest in the State Conference. 

We are resigning from the N.C. State Executive Committee due to a lack of trust and confidence in the ethical leadership of the State Conference, the stunning letter continued.

A major NC general market newspaper, The News and Observer, which picked up on “the NC NAACP tumult”story from the Black Press, reported that Executive Committee members had voted to fire state conference Executive Director Da’Quan Love, but technically couldn’t, because Administrator Sweetlove informed them that she had hired him.

It was yet another way Administrator Sweetlove has demonstrated that as long as she is in charge, things in the NC NAACP will be done her way.

During the middle of her four-year period, Sweetlove allegedly helped to engineer the election of former New Hanover County NAACP President Deborah Dicks Maxwell to oust  incumbent Pres. Spearman in a controversial October 2021 election.

In his June 2022 lawsuit against Ms. Sweetlove, Pres./CEO Johnson, and certain members of the NC NAACP Executive Committee, Spearman alleged that the October 2021 election was deliberately designed to have him voted out of office.

“Not only did National usurp the NC NAACP’s right to carry out its own election, Defendants withheld material information about the election including, but not limited to, when the election would take place, the duration of the election, and the method by which the election would be held,” Rev. Spearman, now deceased, alleged in his civil suit.

He went on to further allege, “ At the behest of Defendants (Derrick) Johnson and (NAACP Board Chairman Leon) Russell, Defendant Sweetlove conducted the [October 2021] election in violation of the NAACP Constitution.”

According to a September 16, 2021 email letter from Administrator Sweetlove to “North Carolina NAACP State Conference #5480 members” regarding the “State Conference Elections for the North Carolina State Conference #5480,” she informed North Carolina branches that she was working with the national NAACP training director to “supervise your State Conference Election.”

The Sweetlove Sept. 16, 2021 email letter is also important because that’s when she informs state conference members that the electronic “Election Buddy system” would be implemented for the upcoming state conference elections, which were then scheduled for October 9th.

It is the first official notice of the upcoming 2021 North Carolina state conference elections then, scheduled to occur literally the following month.

The national training director was to “…work with sales force regarding the process of vetting the eligibility of candidates and delegate voters,” Sweetlove wrote. She then went on to delineate “candidate eligibility to run for office and submission of required forms,” later stating that all consent forms and nominations must be submitted by September 30, 2021,” for state conference elections scheduled just nine days later.

And if you were a branch member “in good standing,” according to Administrator Sweetlove’s email letter, the eligibility of candidates and delegate voters must be as of September 9, 2021 - seven days before Sweetlove’s email letter to state conference membership was even sent, let alone written.

Administrator Sweetlove effectively changed the rules of the state conference election, “…in violation of the NAACP Constitution…,” Rev. Spearman alleged in his June 2022 lawsuit.

“Defendants engaged in tactics designed to disenfranchise Plaintiff’s (Spearman’s) supporters. Such tactics included failing to make delegate information accessible to all candidates, unconstitutionally throwing out results of the first election in favor of a second election that Defendants carried out after a large number of delegates - most of whom were Plaintiff’s supporters - had already left the convention.”

Spearman also alleged in his lawsuit that “Defendants employed a computerized voting program (Election Buddy) to conduct the election without ensuring the program’s compliance with [NAACP] Constitutional rules which stated that elections were to be done by secret ballot.”

Rev. Spearman maintained that Deborah Maxwell “…had been given every advantage by Defendants Johnson, Russell and Sweetlove, including  delegate information which had been denied to other candidates including Plaintiff.”

As it turned out, the controversial state conference elections then were actually held October 23rd, 2021, not Oct. 9th as originally scheduled, and Rev. Spearman filed an official complaint with the national NAACP office by Oct. 27th as per NAACP Bylaws, only to have it dismissed later.

Why is this backstory important now?

Because there are multiple sources in, or formerly in the NC NAACP who allege Administrator Sweetlove is manipulating the state conference election process again, with the goal of keeping Pres. Maxwell in office unchallenged for another two-year term.

Their evidence?

Part of the national NAACP procedure to qualify members as possible candidates for state conference offices like president; first, second , third or fourth vice president; secretary, assistant secretary, treasurer, assistant treasurer; at-large Executive Committee members and directors for districts is to have the state conference secretary send out letters to qualifying conference branches to notify eligible members who wish to run for state office as to what forms and actions are required, and when to submit them.

That letter, according to the “Manual on State/State Area Conference Election Procedure,” is mandated to be mailed by or before a certain date by certified mail, this year being February 1st, in order to be returned by interested candidates by June 15th by certified mail, so that possible 2023 candidates can be determined for this year’s state conference elections, scheduled for Saturday, October 7th, during the state NAACP Convention in Wilmington.

Effectively and constitutionally for the 2023 state conference elections, possible candidates are supposed to be given over four months to comply with the requirements to qualify.

But multiple sources have confirmed, now more than a month after the constitutionally mandated deadline, that that qualifying letter was never sent out on or before February 1st as required.

To back up that claim, sources provided this newspaper with several emails, detailing how now former NC NAACP Secretary Sylvia Barnes (she was suspended by the national NAACP Board on February 17th, 2023 during its meeting in New York) sent an email of concern on Feb. 2, 2023 to NC NAACP Executive Director Da’Quan Marcell Love. 

It reads in part:

The manual did say the branches should receive the letter by certified mail as in the old manual February 1st. I still have the letters that I prepared to be mailed on January 25th. I feel my directions should come from the Elections procedure committee or President Maxwell. This unresponsive direction is not acceptable since individuals wishing to petition to run for an office may be effected. Those forms must be mailed back to the committee by certified mail on or before June 15th. For persons wishing to seek office. 

Executive Director Love then replied:

As a reminder we all have been directed by Mrs. Sweet-Love not to disseminate any additional information until she advises otherwise. The state conference remains under administration. Do not disseminate anything per her directive.

I had those letters ready to go to the mailbox,” former Secretary Barnes said on a personal video message to NAACP friends and colleagues last week.

“This is the year for the state conference elections,” Barnes maintains.”If the branches and the people who choose to run for office cannot get that information, and send it back by June 15th, there will be no election of the state conference.”

Barnes added, “ I think Ms. Sweetlove knows she has the authority to do the same thing that Mr.Derrick Johnson did [over elections in 2019), and I think that it was planned that those letters would not go out, which would give Ms. Deborah Dicks Maxwell another two-year term to try to correct the damage, the hurt and the harm that she has caused in this North Carolina State conference.”

This email correspondence confirms that Administrator Sweetlove allegedly has once again circumvented an established, NAACP constitutional election protocol, as was done in 2019 by national NAACP Pres. Derrick Johnson when he cancelled the elections that year, and Sweetlove herself allegedly manipulated  in 2021, effectively calling the 2023 state conference elections of the NC NAACP into question now. 

If all of the above is true, then what possible opportunity do rank-and-file NC NAACP members have to change their state leadership if the written national NAACP mandated election process for state conference elections is allegedly being manipulated without their knowledge or input?






By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

A recent Politico article made the point bluntly.

“Hindsight is always 20/20 and there’s no doubt that Cheri Beasley and Val Demings (Florida) were in tough races, but given the right investment they both could have won,” says California Rep. Barbara Lee, who has announced her candidacy for the U.S. Senate,  referring to the races of two popular Black women U.S. senatorial candidates this past midterm elections. The same with Wisconsin U.S. senatorial candidate Mandela Barnes, who came within a whisker of unseating Republican archconservative incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson.

In all three cases, veteran observers say, if the requisite funding had come from the national Democratic Party, victory could have been a forgone conclusion. Save for the lack of “institutional support.” 

In Beasley’s case, for example, her campaign raised an impressive $39 million to Republican opponent Ted Budd’s $15 million. But according to Politico, outside Republican and conservative groups spent $62 million on the Budd campaign’s behalf, more than out matching Democratic outside support for Beasley’s campaign.

That additional GOP financial windfall meant additional messaging during the closing days of the campaign, when the Black Democratic candidate could not essentially afford to fight back.

The result - Cheri Beasley lost by 3 points.

“…[U]ltimately, to be in a position to get through that and win in a Trump state, we were going to need outside investment to be a lot closer to parity,” Beasley campaign manager Travis Brimm told Politico.

And it’s not just additional money that was lacking, Democratic political observers say, but additional structural support for Black candidates in terms of get-out-the-vote efforts, especially Black female candidates. The irony is Black women are the backbone of the party, so that support should have been forthcoming.

Part of the problem may lie in a new report  by the Manhattan Institute think tank that “…argues that the Democratic Party is becoming a tension-generating mix of college-educated whites and non-college-educated nonwhites.”

‘“[T]he Democratic Party will likely become a majority-minority party relatively soon, but one that is still largely and disproportionately steered by liberal college-educated whites,” states the report. The party is seen as dividing into two tracts - white, highly educated liberals pushing for abortion rights and climate change; nonwhite Democrats advocating economic issues, and criminal justice.

The analysis sounds like what is happening in North Carolina, where the cultural divide of rural versus urban has cost the party several possible victories over the past few elections.

In February, the North Carolina Democratic Party swept out it’s old party leadership, and installed new, younger leadership which promised to reach out to the rural electorate, as well as to Black Democrats, to assure both groups that the Democratic Party has their best interests at heart.

The new party leadership, led by Chairwoman Anderson Clayton, a white, 25 year-old former Person County chair not five years graduated from college, has vowed to make the NCDP more competitive with the NCGOP by 2030. North Carolina Republicans have been winning the big statewide elections since 2010, with no change in sight, so her work is cut out for her.

But what does Clayton’s promise of Democratic Party change mean to  North Carolina African-American Democrats, whose support was lackluster at best, during the 2022 midterms, and could be worse by the critical 2024 and 2030 elections?

NCDP Chairwoman Clayton offers the same prescription for winning with Black voters as she does with rural voters who are presently voting Republican.

“To me, it is about showing…people in my party right now… people need to see that Democrats care about people again, rather than just winning elections.”

Clayton says that means being in communities 24/7, and not just during election time, and tapping into key leadership within Black and rural communities to represent what the party stands for.

Can Anderson Clayton’s vision to pull the NCDP together work?

She has until 2024 to find out .


Monday, March 13, 2023




                                                               SYLVIA ELLIS BARNES





By Cash Michaels

An analysis

State Secretary Sylvia Ellis Barnes, 75, has served as NAACP Lifetime member, Goldsboro/Wayne County NAACP Chapter president, and secretary of the North Carolina conference of branches of the NAACP under five state presidents, from October of 1995 to February 18th, 2023, when, during the annual meeting of the national NAACP Board of Directors recently, her name was reportedly announced as having been suspended by the board, along with NC NAACP State Treasurer Gerald Givens.

“Floored, shocked and surprised” by what she deeply felt was unfair and unjust treatment (she was never notified in advance of any complaint being lodged against her), on Friday, March 10th, Barnes taped a 58-minute video message in her own words (, expressing her continued love for the NAACP, but also her clear disgust with the injustice she felt a victim of; the lack of leadership from state conference Pres. Deborah Maxwell; her frustration with Administrator Gloria Sweetlove and Executive Director Da’Quan Love specifically; her denial of violating any membership rules; and pride in her decades of selfless service in the cause of civil rights.

The sad story of Secretary Sylvia Barnes’ suspension is a textbook example, former and current NAACP members say, of how the national NAACP seems to be replacing dedicated veteran members and officers through suspensions, questionable elections and other controversial administrative measures designed to reshape the organization into an entity not reflective of its 1909 founding and principles.

It is the latest chapter in what many are saying is the diminishing of a once great civil rights organization.

A letter addressed to Sylvia Barnes dated March 9, 2023, signed by national NAACP Pres./CEO Derrick Johnson, and delivered March 10th, read in part, “Following your request for a hearing, a panel of National Board Members was convened and a hearing was held. Following the hearing and the panel’s deliberations, the panel submitted its findings and recommendations to the Committee on Membership and Units of the NAACP National Board of Directors (“Committee”). The Committee subsequently made recommendations to the full NAACP Board of Directors.” 

The letter from Pres. Johnson continued, “The Committee request that the Board approve the recommendation to immediately suspend Sylvia Barnes (North Carolina – Secretary) for dereliction of duty. Gerald Givens (North Carolina – Treasurer) membership for noncompliance with regulations and request from the Administrators pending such time a hearing panel convenes and returns with a formal recommendation.” 

          “The purpose of this letter is to notify you that the NAACP National Board of Directors, at its meeting on February 17, 2023, voted to sustain your suspension commencing from the original suspension date. Once the suspension time is complete, you may apply to the National Board of Directors for reinstatement of your membership.” 

This letter from Pres. Johnson to Secretary Barnes is problematic for several reasons.

First, according to the missive, the alleged suspension of Barnes happened on an “original suspension date,” but the letter never states what that date was. That’s important because the letter also notes that “Once the suspension time is complete, [ Barnes] may apply [to the NAACP board] for reinstatement of [her] membership.” But the letter never cites what that “suspension time” is. How is Barnes supposed to know?

Secondly, the letter stated that Secretary Barnes requested a hearing, and one was held…but apparently without her. The NAACP Bylaws and Constitution mandate a due process hearing, where a member facing suspension can face charges or accusations, presenting evidence and witnesses in defense.

“That has not happened,” she insists.

So where was Secretary Barnes’ NAACP constitutionally mandated right to face the accusations against her and defend herself accordingly?

Barnes maintains it was only when friends and colleagues began calling her with news that she had been suspended after the February 18th  NAACP Board meeting that she knew anything about the change in her membership status. Nothing in writing came from the national NAACP office until Friday, March 10, 2023….four weeks later. 

She says after hearing about her suspension from others, Ms. Barnes wrote the national NAACP office, requesting confirmation, and a hearing. What she got was the written March 9th response confirming her suspension, and telling her not only that the hearing she requested was held without her participation, but a panel of Board members convened it. That panel deliberated without Ms. Barnes and then “submitted its findings and recommendations to the Committee on Membership and Units of the NAACP National Board of Directors.”

The NAACP board member who chairs that committee, is Gloria Sweetlove, the administrator of the NC NAACP and a national NAACP board member, who allegedly wanted Secretary Barnes and Treasurer Gerald Givens suspended in the first place, because they refused her directive to issue money vouchers allegedly without Executive Committee approval, a violation of  NAACP Bylaws. 

Sweetlove and her committee, in turn, recommended the Barnes and Givens suspensions to the full NAACP Board, which ratified them on Feb. 17th.

When Secretary Barnes discovered what happened, and who was allegedly behind it, she says she became upset with how disrespectfully she had been treated by an organization she literally has given her life to since the age of 14.

On March 6, Barnes sent an email out to several NC NAACP members informing them that she was no longer state conference secretary, and was no longer authorized to answer their many questions, or help them with issues. But she felt compelled to ensure that her many friends and colleagues fully understood what had happened to her.

So Barnes produced a 58-minute video, sitting at her dining room table in her Wayne County home, speaking to her former colleagues, and anyone else who would listen.

“This has been a very stressful time for me because on a daily basis, I am still trying to reason within my mind a reason for my suspension, “ Barnes says on her video. She also confirms that she’s heard nothing from NC NAACP Pres. Deborah Maxwell.

“I’m sure, I’m positive that she knew what Ms. Sweetlove was going to do at the national board meeting,” Barnes maintains on her tape.’With everything I have in me, she has not been the leader we thought she would be…,” later calling Pres. Maxwell “…a total disappointment.”

Secretary Barnes also revealed that she considered running for state conference in 2021, but backed out when Maxwell signaled that she would indeed run. Barnes threw her support to Maxwell, and then ran for reelection as state secretary. 

“I expected great things. I expected great leadership.,” Barnes continued about Pres. Maxwell.’I expected that we would move forward, and be a great NC state NAACP under that kind of leadership, and we haven’t seen that.”

Secretary Barnes also noted the whole voucher controversy that got her into trouble. She explained that because of tight audits, there must be a voucher for every check that is written, and the state conference Executive Committee must approve all expenditures over $100.00. Barnes provided documentation where she and Treasurer Givens routinely refused  to violate the established voucher/payment system when ordered to by Gloria Sweetlove, causing the administrator on several occasions to admonish them.

On Sept. 2, 2022 right before the state convention in Fayetteville, an angry Administrator Sweetlove wrote, “Ms. Sylvia and Gerald - I’m again having to personally request that each of you do your job and sign the invoices needed to pay the vendors for the Convention! Both Da’Quan and President Maxwell have requested that you sign these vouchers. If you no longer wish to serve in your respective positions, please resign! These actions are both irresponsible and childish. Don’t call or email! Just sign the invoices/vouchers and write the checks.”

Sweetlove concluded, “Article VIII’s are reserved for persons who choose NOT to perform the required duties of the office. I know that this is a very stressful time. If either of you feel that you can no longer fulfill the requirements of your positions, please send your letter of resignation to President Maxwell and turn in your respective items!

There was a reason for Secretary Barnes and Treasurer Givens to balk at paying convention vouchers.

After the 2022 NC NAACP Convention, Rev. Corine Mack, Executive Committee member and president of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg  NAACP chapter complained in an email, We spent $60,000 for a one day NC State convention of which $30,000 was reimbursed  to Mr Love,” Rev. Mack wrote. “He stayed at the Embassy Suites with his mother, family and staff from his company. We were slotted to stay at the motel that literally had roaches crawling at our convention. Quite an expensive roach motel! Less than one hundred people attended and only sixty-seven were eligible delegates.”

On her personal video message, Secretary Barnes offered no apologies for following the policies that guided how she conducted her office since 1995. And though she has been indefinitely suspended from the job and membership she loved so much, Barnes is not bitter. She’s still hopeful that the NAACP she originally joined as a teenager, and has faithfully served for well over five decades, will one day return.

“I look forward, even though the national [NAACP] may never give me my membership back [to take part in NAACP marches and rallies again, even as a nonmember],” said the 75-year-old former member. “I want it understood, that I am not in no way downplaying the NAACP. I want you to understand what a wonderful organization it is and what it stands for.” 

Barnes said the NAACP of 1909 was created for a reason, and it’s important that our children understand that reason.

Editor's Note - Administrator Gloria Sweetlove, Pres. Deborah Dicks Maxwell and Executive Director Da’Quan Love have been asked to comment for our story, but did not do so by press time.

Secretary Barnes’ video message can be seen in it’s entirety on Youtube at





                                                      SEN. LISA GRAFSTEIN




By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

Democratic state senators Kandie D. Smith (Edgecombe, Pitt), Gladys A. Robinson (Guilford) and Lisa Grafstein (Wake) have introduced a bill in the North Carolina General Assembly that if passed, would “…increase funding to the state Board of Elections; clarify laws and prohibit voter intimidation; improve voting access and encourage voting by establishing online voter registration; expand early one-stop voting hours on Saturdays and Sundays, and create a nonpartisan process for redistricting regarding certain elections.”

The proposed Freedom to Vote Act (Senate Bill 226) is currently in the Rules and Operations of the Senate Committee. But it’s not the only measure pending in the state legislature that is aimed at changing voting.

Saying that their bills are “needed” to help protect the integrity of the vote, Republicans have introduced their own legislation.                                 . 

“The Election Day Integrity Act” would, if passed, not allow mail-in ballots to be accepted after 7:30 p.m. on Election Day. Currently, ballots postmarked by Election Day can be accepted by local county election boards up to the Friday after an election.

Another Republican proposed measure titled the “Early Voting Constitutional Amendment,” would,  if ratified by voters in November 2024,  “…provide that voting in person prior to Election Day may occur for a period of seven days and all days shall be consecutive.”

That amendment language for voters to read on November 2024 ballots:

[  ] FOR        [   ] AGAINST  (check one)

"Constitutional amendment providing that if the General Assembly authorizes voting in person prior to Election Day, the period of time allowing for voting in person prior to Election Day shall be no longer than seven days, all of which shall be consecutive." 

Clearly not in favor of the GOP measure, Senator Smith told reporters this bill is designed to target black voters, who are more likely to vote for Democrats.

“Early voting is the most popular period for voting for black and young voters,” Sen. Smith said during a press conference at the legislature last week. “And [this is] being done in the name of election integrity.”

Then Senator Smith chuckled.

“There’s no “integrity in that at all.”


Monday, March 6, 2023



Deborah Dicks Maxwell

                                                           DA'QUAN MARCELL LOVE




By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

When Deborah Dicks Maxwell, president of the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, won her controversial election over incumbent President Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman in October 2021, she subsequently told The Raleigh News and Observer, “ The power of the NAACP does not reside in the state office; it resides in the power of all those local presidents and branches throughout the state.”

While many might agree that local branches should be front and center in carrying the social justice banner, others have argued that strong leadership from Pres. Maxwell and the NC NAACP on important social justice issues since she was elected has been lacking, and if anything, the noteworthy accomplishments that made the North Carolina conference one of the most powerful and productive in the nation from 2005-2021 under the leadership of Rev. Dr. William Barber and his successor, the late Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman,  have been lost.

Witness this email provided by sources titled, “NC Concerns and Impotency of the NC NAACP” from Pasquotank County NAACP Pres. Keith Rivers regarding Maxwell’s alleged lack of involvement in the aftermath of the Sheriff’s Dept. April 21, 2021 killing of Elizabeth City resident Andrew Brown Jr.

The Pasquotank Branch of the NAACP …accomplished implementing a Sheriff's Citizen Advisory Committee(CAC) with NO assistance from the state conference or President Maxwell,” wrote Rivers in a Feb. 18, 2023 email to the national NAACP Board and others. 

“At the same time, other branches across the state, like Statesville, traveled five hours to march and protest with us. We protested for 382 days, and at NO time did President Maxwell join us in Elizabeth City or provide assistance as the state conference president. Furthermore, we have legislation drafted to give the CAC investigative authority, again, NO state involvement.”

Rivers continued, “President Maxwell implied that the state conference under her leadership was working with the Pasquotank Branch to continue in the Fight for Justice of Andrew Brown Jr.; flat-out untrue …with all the new oppressive legislation attempting to be passed in N.C. and Moore v Harper at the Supreme Court, President Maxwell painted a false picture as she and (state Executive Director) Daquan Love do so often. The lack of integrity in her remarks is a slap in the face to those on the frontline and directly reflects what goes on in N.C. State Conference. Lies and Half-truths.”

This newspaper has spoken with several members and former members of the NC NAACP, and one common theme all have hit upon is that leadership from the state conference is sorely lacking. They warn that with Republicans intent on eliminating any semblance of  teaching the true racial history of North Carolina or the nation, and a black Republican lt. governor who has become the mouthpiece for the conservative power structure in this state, this is not the time for President Deborah Maxwell to be anything but ever vigilant, and a strong advocate who can be counted on.

Research shows that now, with eight months left to her two-year term, and seven months from the next scheduled state conference election, Pres. Maxwell has amassed anything but an impressive record.

For example:

- Since the Wilmington native took office, no less than six longtime NC NAACP members since January of 2022 have been suspended from their memberships, with five losing the important offices that they held. At least half claim they never received an official letter from the national NAACP office officially informing them of their suspensions, or the reasons for them.

- Black voter participation in the 2022 midterm elections went down, notable because a high profile Black female, former NC Supreme Court Justice Cheri Beasley, lost her bid to become the first African-American woman  elected as U.S. senator from North Carolina. The NC NAACP’s statewide get-out-the-vote/voter registration campaign under Maxwell’s leadership was nonexistent.

- 2022 has come and gone, and 2023 is well underway, and there have been none of the momentous coalition-building marches or rallies centered around important social justice issues like criminal justice or affordable housing led by the NC NAACP. Pres. Maxwell has rarely made a public appearance in connection with an issue of black community concern, or rarely issued a public statement on behalf of the NC NAACP when the Republican-led NC General Assembly was advancing public policy that was contrary to the interests of the African-American community statewide.

Last November, Charlotte - Mecklenburg Chapter Pres. and state conference Fourth Vice Pres. Rev. Corine Mack wrote one of many blistering emails to Pres. Maxwell and the Executive Committee, opining that the state conference was not living up to its potential, especially under new NC NAACP Executive Director Da’Quan Marcell Love.

Love,  a political consultant from Virginia, was hired by NC NAACP Administrator Gloria Sweetlove and Maxwell in August 2022 at a salary of $5,000 per month.

In an email provided by sources, Rev. Mack complained that Love “…blames everyone when things go wrong but never takes accountability for his ineffectiveness.”

At the November 22nd meeting,  a motion was passed for us all to meet to resolve issues in our leadership,” wrote Rev. Mack to NC NAACP Executive Committee members on November 29th, 2022.I agree with Treasurer [Gerald] Givens; several concerns arose concerning Mr. Love that the elected leadership must discuss amongst ourselves.

Rev. Mack continued, “More importantly, President  Maxwell has cancelled several meetings with the vice presidents and has not convened with the vice presidents, treasurer and secretary at all since gaining office.”

“As an executive committee, it would be tremendously helpful for us to forge a path forward ourselves.”

“Leadership matters!,” Rev. Mack continued. “If the President can't chair a meeting with the leadership without Mr. Love's presence, we have a bigger problem.”

“We are not children, frankly. I am willing to meet with Deborah Maxwell and the officers to move forward with a real plan for this state conference.  I have requested such a meeting  from day one,” Rev. Mack concluded, “…to no avail.”

It also doesn’t help that Mr. Love’s previous NAACP leadership experience was 14 allegedly tumultuous months as executive director of the Virginia NAACP conference since 2020. According to the Richmond Free Press,  Love “abruptly quit after 14 months,” leaving behind “…a blistering resignation letter accusing members of the state NAACP board of creating overly stressful conditions that were ruining his health.”

Rev. Mack was not pleased with Love’s performance in how last year’s NC NAACP State Convention in Fayetteville was conducted..

We spent $60,000 for a one day NC State convention of which $30,000 was reimbursed  to Mr. Love,” Rev. Mack wrote.He stayed at the Embassy Suites with his mother, family and staff from his company.

We were slotted to stay at the motel that literally had roaches crawling at our convention. Quite an expensive roach motel! Less than one hundred people attended and only sixty-seven were eligible delegates.”

Rev. Mack sarcastically continued, “I want to make you aware of the NC legislative agenda that will make our state the model for the new Jim Crow. But there has been No response from this leadership.” 

  What Maxwell, the first female elected  as NC NAACP president, told The News and Observer she wanted to accomplish while in office was to advocate for redistricting be a fairer process; strengthening NAACP branches across the state; and encouraging North Carolinians to “participate in the policymaking process.”

Again, Pres. Maxwell’s critics note, there’s little evidence of any of that happening on her watch. And yet, with state conference executive elections just around the corner, NC NAACP members may find it difficult to replace Maxwell with more dynamic leadership.

Thanks to an administrator none of them asked for, and sorely would love to get rid of.

NC NAACP Deborah Maxwell and  Executive Director Da’Quan Love were asked for a comment for this story, but neither responded by press time.





By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

At long last, the Republican legislative leadership and Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper are on the same page when it comes to Medicaid expansion in North Carolina.

They’re all for it.

Last week, state House and Senate leaders announced that they had reached a deal that would extend the important heath insurance coverage program to approximately 600,000 poor North Carolinians.

“That’s going to provide help for so many in this state,” House Speaker Tim Moore told reporters. “But it’s going to do it in a way that is fiscally responsible.

Gov. Cooper was elated, having fought Republican legislative leaders for years without success to get Medicaid expanded for thousands of the state’s neediest citizens.

“An agreement …to expand Medicaid in North Carolina is a monumental step that will save lives…, ” Cooper said in a statement.

So what does this news mean for low-income African Americans living in North Carolina, which is now the 40th state to expand Medicaid?

According to the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid Facts, Medicaid is a major source of health coverage for African-Americans across the nation. Blacks are 1 in 5 Medicaid enrollees.

In 2009, 27% of African-Americans  - 10 million people, including 5 million children - were covered by Medicaid, compared to 39% covered by employer-based coverage and 9% covered by Medicare, according to the Kaiser Commission. That same year, Medicare covered 49% of poor African-Americans, and half of all Black children in the United States, including 64% of low-income Black children.

And for African-Americans in poor health, Medicaid covered over a third (35%) of blacks in fair or poor health, and 59% of Blacks living with HIV/AIDS.

Per the North Carolina deal, Medicaid expansion becomes effective upon passage of the proposed new sate budget. Gov. Cooper told reporters he would like to see it take effect immediately.

“Since we all agree this is the right thing to do, we should make it effective now to make sure we leverage the money that will save our rural hospitals and invest in mental health,” Gov. Cooper said.