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NAACP looks to start anew

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

ALBANY , Ga. -- Newly installed National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Albany-Dougherty Branch President Marvin Jones says his immediate goal is simple -- get the local chapter on the same page with state and national leadership.

The Albany-Dougherty branch has a tumultuous past year, looking horns with the state NAACP over fees, which eventually resulted in the ouster of the entire local leadership last month.

Now with new executive officers in place and a new office at 136 N. Magnolia St., Jones said last week that the local branch has reopened its doors and is looking toward a brighter future.

"I'm not going to accuse anyone of anything, but our first priority will be to follow the NAACP constitution and all its by-laws to the letter," Jones said. "When we venture out on our own and start working on our own ideas is when we get into trouble."

Jones, 70, is a graduate of Monroe High School and worked for 31 years at Merck, much of that time spent as a master negotiator as president of the International Chemical Workers Union

In addition to Jones, new officers are David Williams, first vice president; the Rev. Rogers L. Chatmon, second vice president; Princella Stegall, treasurer; Mary James-Ingram, assistant treasurer; Tammy Green, secretary; Geraldine Hudley, assistant secretary, and Eunice Bankston, youth adviser.

"We want to make sure that we as a group maintain continuity with the state and national offices," Jones said." We want to work to grow our branch membership and make ourselves attractive to others so people will want to be a part of our unit.

"We also want to work closely with local businesses to create a good hiring and working environment for all of our citizens."

And how does he view the current state of relations in Albany and Dougherty County?

"As a young child I remember my mother telling me I couldn't drink from certain water fountains, and that stuck with me. I couldn't figure out why. After all, it was just water," Jones answered. "We've made a lot of progress since those days. We don't have to go to the back of the bus anymore, but we still have a lot of work to do."