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Creation of the Georgia NAACP 

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In the early stages of World War II, in November 1941, Dr. Ralph Mark Gilbert, Pastor of the First African Baptist Church of Savannah, convened about ten (10) branches of the NAACP which included Savannah, Brunswick, Dublin, Atlanta, Columbus, Macon, Albany and about three others whose names are not certain to form the State Conference.


This small group met and elected the following officers: Dr. Ralph Mark Gilbert, President, Reverend M. F. Adams, Treasurer, and a schoolteacher, whose name was not listed because of reprisals against state employees who became members of the NAACP.​Members included were: Joe P. Atkinson and Georgia Bibbs of Brunswick, Reverend A. L. Brewster of Dublin, Dr. Thomas Brewer of Columbus, C. l. Harper and Jesse Thomas of Atlanta, Dr. L. M. Terrell, Pastor of Bryan Baptist Church of Savannah, C. A. Scott, Editor of the Atlanta Daily World, Attorney A. T. Walden of Atlanta, and a black attorney from Macon. The State Conference of Branches grew under the aggressive leadership of Dr. Gilbert.


At the time of his death in 1949, there were forty (40) NAACP Branches in Georgia. There was at least one (1) College Chapter,sponsored by the colleges which now make up the Atlanta University Center. The Atlanta Branch was organized in 1917. Dr. C. L. Harper, courageous and militant principal of Georgia’s first public high school, was President of the Atlanta Branch during that period, 1936 – 1950.​During those early years, Walter White, National Executive Secretary, whose native home was Atlanta and Mrs. Ella Baker, National Field Secretary and later National Membership Secretary, worked with the Georgia State Conference as it grew and joined with the National Association to combat lynching, integrating the Armed Services, aided in the merger of the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations into one union (AFL-CIO) which accepted black members, increased participation in the state and federal electoral processes as well as successfully attacking the White Democratic Primary which excluded black participation.

Georgia NAACP in the 1950’s, 1960’s, and 1970’s

The State Conference in Cordele in 1950 elected William Madison Boyd (-1955, a Professor at Atlanta University as the State Conference President. Mr. Gloster B. Current, a union organizer and militant from Detroit, Michigan became National Director of NAACP Branches, and Roy Wilkins, former Editor of the Kansas City Call, became Assistant Director to Walter White, whose health was declining at the time. The involvement and aggression became more intense as the dynamic leadership of Bill Boyd harnessed more of the middle-class blacks in Georgia in support of the

NAACP programs. Dr. Boyd died in 1955, and the youthful and forceful president of the Savannah Branch, Wesley W. Law (1923-2002) was elected as state president. Mr. Law came to the helm at a very significant period of NAACP influence in Georgia.

After a brief tenure of Charles Price as Field Secretary, Amos O. Holmes was engaged as Georgia’s Field Secretary; 1958-1962 and again 1966-67. Joe Louis Tucker and Leon Cox assumed the position of Georgia Field Secretaries from 1962-64; 1964-66 respectively. They were very effective in seeing to it that the 1964 Civil Rights Law and the 1965 Voting

Rights Law were implemented in Georgia cities and counties. This required lawsuits to be brought against non-complying officials. During the intervening years Vernon Jordan served as the Georgia Field Director and Robert Flanagan began his ten years of service in 1968.


During the period 1955 – 72, the NAACP’s regional staff and the staff of the Georgia State Conference Branches were on the frontline of battle beleaguered by unrelenting forces that did not give in until the 1964 Civil Rights Act passed in Congress and began to be enforced in 1965. Reverend Julius Caeser Hope (1932- ) was elected President of the State Conference held in Brunswick in 1966 and served until his appointment as Director of Religious Affairs for the

National NAACP in 1978, a position that he serves to this day.


He brought charisma and an elegant style to the “now” generation that had become stylish. Church support increased

and the youth easily allied with him. Shortly after he retired from the National Office; Robert Flanagan became President of the State Conference in 1978. Branch growth was phenomenal under his leadership, increasing

to 100 units in Georgia. The National NAACP Convention gave awards to Georgia for significant membership and branch increases during his tenure as Georgia Field Director. Many of the achievements worthy of note in Georgia were due to the leadership of Regional, State and local Branch leadership working together. It was during the beginning of the Flanagan era that Savannah native EarlTheodore Shinhoster (1950-2000) was named Southeast Regional Director.


Georgia NAACP 1980’s, 1990’s and 2000 

Moving into the New Century

Ed Brown (1947-2013) of Camilla, Georgia followed Mr. Flanagan as state conference

president in October, 1986. Brown had previously served as 1st Vice President. Just a few

months after taking office, Ed Brown, along with other civil rights leaders including then-

Southeast Regional Director Earl T. Shinhoster (1950-2000), led the famous march

through Forsyth County in January, 1987.

Brown represented the State Conference at the march on the South African Embassy as

well as the Silent March in Washington, DC. Under Brown’s administration, there were 134

active branches, including over 30 branches that were reorganized or newly chartered

during the first years of his tenure.

In 1988, Brown led a rally in protest of the mysterious death of an African-American female in Catoosa County in far north Georgia, and later led the fight against a medical landfill in Taylor County.

Walter C. Butler, Jr. (1943-2008) of Madison, Morgan County, who served several terms

as 1st Vice President, was elected State Conference President at the 51st Annual State

Convention in Augusta, over Al Williams of Midway, Liberty County, who would later be

elected to the Georgia House of Representatives, and serve as Chairman of the Georgia

Legislative Black Caucus from 2006-08.

Under Mr. Butler’s administration, membership throughout the state remained strong,

which resulted in the State Conference opening an office that operated within the

Southeast Regional Office. Ruth F. Ash of Clayton County was hired as Office Manager

for the State Conference in 1997.

During 1998, the Georgia State Conference NAACP along with the Atlanta Branch welcomed thousands of delegates and attendees from across the country to the 89th Annual NAACP National Convention in Atlanta---the first National Convention in Georgia in 36 years— since 1962. In 1999, the Georgia State Conference NAACP was a lead plaintiff in a major lawsuit against the Secretary of State challenging the constitutionality of campaign finance for state senate elections, although it was ruling of the federal appeals court was not favorable, it demonstrated the leadership and tenacity of the State Conference.


Georgia NAACP 2000s to Present 

In October, at the 63rd State Convention in Athens, Edward Oscar DuBose (1958- ),

President of the Columbus, branch, succeeded Butler as State Conference President. In

January, 2006, Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Leah Sears administered the oath to

DuBose and other newly-elected state conference officers at a historic ceremony held at

Morehouse College in Atlanta. DuBose was directly responsible in raising awareness of the Kenneth Walker case in Columbus.


Almost immediately upon taking office DuBose began an aggressive campaign of visiting

branches, and gave critical support to citizens in Taylor County for the placement of

separate markers to honor the white and black World War II veterans. DuBose also played

a key role behind honoring Maceo Snipes, a WWII veteran who was murdered shortly after being the first African-American to register to vote in Taylor County in 1946. DuBose was one of the first to give public and vocal support of the West Metro Branch’s efforts in the case of the “Douglasville Six”, which culminated in the case of Genarlow Wilson, a 17 year old student who was charged with child molestation for consensual sex with a 15-year-old student. Through the efforts of the West Metro Branch and the Georgia State Conference, Wilson was released from prison in the fall of 2007.

Under DuBose, the Georgia State Conference NAACP opened its own separate suite of offices in 2007, which became necessary following the closure of the Southeast Regional Office and the reduction in Branch and Field office staff. DuBose launched a bold campaign to investigate unsolved murders and deaths of African Americans throughout the state, and made national news by asking the Governor of Georgia to apologize for slavery. Since taking office, the State Conference under Edward DuBose has seen more than 30 branches elect new presidents, and he has visited branches in every corner of the state. 

In 2009, State Conference President Edward O. DuBose was elected as an at-large member to the NAACP National Board of Directors, becoming the first adult Board member from Georgia since the late Maynard Holbrook Jackson, the former three-term mayor of Atlanta.

In October 5, 2013 during the 71st Annual Georgia NAACP Convention and Civil Rights

Conference, Rev. Dr. Francys Johnson (1979- ), a 34-year-old civil rights attorney and

pastor from Statesboro, was elected 9th President of the Georgia State Conference

NAACP at the Columbus Convention & Trade Center.

On January 13, 2014, President Johnson took “Moral Monday Georgia” to the Georgia

State Capital to with a broad based coalition of religious, civic, human and civil rights

organizations along with organized labor joining forces to pressure Gov. Nathan Deal and

the General Assembly to accept billions of federal dollars to expand Medicaid; repeal Stand Your Ground Laws; and end Voter Suppression.

In a historic vote of the State Conference of the Georgia NAACP, Phyllis Blake was elected as the first female President of the Georgia NAACP. Mrs. Blake ascended to the position of President of the Georgia NAACP on July 22, 2017, when former President Francys Johnson resigned at the National Convention in Baltimore. Blake of Atlanta was elected as President of the NAACP, Fayette County Branch in 2007. On the State level, Blake served as Metro Atlanta District Coordinator, elected Third Vice President in 2011 and First Vice President in 2015. Under the auspices of the National NAACP Corporate Office, Blake served as the Southeastern Region 2010 Census Manager and the 2012 Civic Engagement Coordinator.

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