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Youngstown NAACP facing changes

Published: Sat, January 1, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

It’s a new year, and the local chapter of the nation’s oldest civil-rights organization will undergo some new changes.

The Youngstown chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has been a presence in the Mahoning Valley since 1919.

The chapter has fought against discrimination in housing, the work force and in public venues.

I met recently with Herb Williams, the local chapter’s secretary, and Joseph Hightower, parliamentarian and executive board member.

First, the chapter will be looking for new quarters. It is now located on Market Street, on the second floor of the former Stackhouse Oldsmobile dealership.

Hightower explained that a major building tenant is leaving, and the chapter likely will have to move when its lease expires.

The emphasis this year is to focus specifically on future hopes and aspirations of area youths.

Hightower said the chapter wants to be a conduit for information on jobs in the community.

That is a particular concern for young people who sincerely are trying to find work in the Mahoning Valley.

The chapter also will have monthly meetings with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to ensure that any complaints about discrimination in hiring are properly processed.

Hightower said the chapter also wants to be “more involved in community issues.”

“There’s a lot of conflict in our community, and we want to be a part of solving that conflict,” he said.

Williams and Hightower explained the chapter once had 50 to 60 people involved in handling myriad duties, especially during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.

Today, that number has dwindled to about 10.

In fact, Williams and Hightower, who are both retired, act as the chapter’s chief investigators when various complaints are made. They draw no salary and gladly volunteer their services.

The chapter began becoming more proactive in 2010.

Last year, the local chapter was the host group for a home-foreclosure seminar at Choffin Career and Technical Center in Youngstown.

The forum was conducted in partnership with Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America, a national agency designed specifically to address the needs of individuals facing the loss of their property.

The NAACP chapter also collaborated with Youngstown State University and several civic organizations, including sororities, to prepare local residents for a regular census test.

The chapter wants to continue building on that foundation and increasing its membership.

In years past, the chapter worked with local churches to institute membership drives. That has fallen off in recent years, but Hightower said it will be a point of emphasis in 2011.

Williams said the chapter can always use volunteer help. If you are interested, contact him at 330-793-7602, or by e-mail at www.naacpyoungstown@yahoo.com,

Ernie Brown Jr., a regional editor at The Vindicator, writes a monthly column. You can reach him at ebrown@vindy.com.


1Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

"The emphasis this year is to focus specifically on future hopes and aspirations of area youths."

Until the family structure is rebuilt with both a mother and father living under one roof with the children the young generation will continue to be lost .

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2redvert(2240 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

When I first read the headline I thought it said "NAACP facing charges." Oh well!!!

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3Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

"That is a particular concern for young people who sincerely are trying to find work in the Mahoning Valley."

Sincerely? How many times do we hear about young people shooting/robbing/drugs, etc. If there sincerely trying to find work, they could find it. But that seems not the case.

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4UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

The lack of family moral values among the urbanite community should be the #1 priority fix for the NAACP in the valley. Until the urbanites understand what that means: education, marriage, and working hard at a job with benefits, not welfare, foodstamps, section 8 housing, and medicaid, nothing will change in the urbanite community and the NAACP will continue in decline.

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5rumppy(119 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

It is all relative. You say there are jobs in the Valley. Where? Why is there a mass exit from the valley of people of all colors, education,etc? Why is there a loss of population? Work is not very plentiful.Why is the state of Ohio looseing population? What you have are people with no hope, won't leave the area because thats all they know and all they will ever know. It is their confort zone sad to say. If the walls were crumbling down around some, they would still remain.Most people want to work. What has prepetuated this enept society are your leaders. Bring the jobs back. This mess started years ago. What people need to do is stand together as one. As long as there are dividing lines, have and have nots, this will only continue.

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6zthafuture(6 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

i'll say this again: its funny to me how even just stumbling across an old story its the (mostly) same people spewing the same nonsense (not you, Stan) some black youth commits a crime and the race is implicated as the perpetrator. some white guy does an act of villainy and not one of you says "these whites need to start blah blah blah...'' or ''that's life in the suburbs for you''. what's the problem? if the solutions are as simple as you make them out to be, why don't you get off your own judgmental apathies and help implement these 'simple' solutions. but to critique the efforts of an organization to provide a solution? wow, that's progressive, really, i applaud such anonymous courage...

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