Baltimore NAACP branch caught in leadership controversy amid presidential oustings

The second oldest branch of the civil rights group has seen two presidents leave office amid scandal

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

One of the most prominent and historic branches of the NAACP is looking for a fresh start after being stripped of its power.

According to the Baltimore Sun, the civil rights organization has taken away its Baltimore branch’s autonomy, removed its local president, and placed it under the authority of president of the NAACP’s Maryland State Conference, Gerald Stansbury, pending a special election this fall.

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The decision was spawned from a series of internal controversies including the resignation of Tessa Hill-Aston as president last October. In July, her successor, Ronald Flamer, was suspended from the organization in July for his alleged “activities, behavior, and conduct” that “were detrimental and inimical to the NAACP,” national NAACP President Derrick Johnson wrote in a letter to the city branch obtained by the Sun.

“It’s embarrassing,” Flamer said of being kicked to the curb after decades service and loyalty to the NAACP. “All I want is to go to a hearing and get my name cleared. I’m retired, but I was giving this thing 100 percent of my time. We were trying to right this organization.” He says he was unfairly removed after writing two checks he wrote in relation to NAACP expenses and an argument over ownership of the branch’s property.

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With the change, Stansbury, now “assumes overall responsibility” at the 106-year-old branch, Johnson wrote.

A new local president and other board members will be elected during a special election in September or October and the chapter will reportedly regain local authority sometime after that, according to the Sun. Sandra Almond-Cooper, one of the vice presidents of the branch became interim president of the chapter last month.

The Baltimore branch, founded in 1912 is the second ever formed by the NAACP. Current members will receive training on following the organization’s bylaws.

“The Baltimore branch needs a refresh,” he said. “We’re looking for a renewed commitment.”