The annual meeting of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization at the forefront of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, is going on today in Sanford, Florida, after a judge in Fulton County Georgia failed on Wednesday to issue an injunction to stop it.
In this latest round of infighting in the organization founded in 1957 by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others, eight SCLC leaders sued the organization on Tuesday, saying the board of the national organization headquartered in Atlanta had violated Georgia state law and SCLC bylaws by not giving its membership adequate notice of the meeting.
The group also called into question the ouster in March of president Isaac Farris Jr., the nephew of King. “They had a meeting in March by conference call to remove Farris,” said Elijah Tutt, president of the Southwest Atlanta Chapter of SCLC. “Farris was on the board, but he didn’t even receive notice of the meeting.”
Tutt, who is one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, says that national board does what it wants to do. “It doesn’t give chapters an opportunity to voice their opinion. Our bylaws say that they are supposed to get input on what the membership wants,” Tutt told BlackAmericaWeb.com.
The 21-year-old said he has been a member of SCLC since he was nine and will not attend the conference this year because of the change in timing.
The conference had been scheduled for Atlanta, but about four weeks ago, Tutt said he learned that it was being held in Florida.
Art Rocker, a national board member and chairman of the SCLC convention this year, said the conference was shifted to Florida this year because it is at the heart of issues the organization is tackling.
“We’re in Sanford, Florida because this is where the Trayvon Martin murder took place. This is where they are dealing with voter suppression,” Rocker told BlackAmericaWeb.com. “We’ve been working in Florida and along the Gulf to get justice for those who worked in the underclass, but have been left out of the claims process following the BP oil disaster.”
Rocker on Wednesday night said he did not know how many people would be attending the conference. “All I know is that the hotel is full,” he said.
Fighting within the SCLC is not unusual, said Rocker, president of the Florida SCLC.
“The SCLC is made up of a lot of strong leaders, and it has been an incubator for many other civil rights groups. People leave us and go on to do greater things in other groups,” he said.
But Tutt said their goal is not to leave, but to make SCLC stronger, by forcing the board to abide by its own rules.
“The bylaws say that the meeting is supposed to start on or after the second Sunday in August,” Tutt told BlackAmericaWeb.com.
Rod Edmond, an attorney representing the plaintiffs, said the judge in Georgia did not grant the injunction because of the timing of the request, but indicated that the actions of official business taken at the SCLC national meeting this year could later be declared null and void.
“The request for an injunction was filed on the 17th. In the emergency hearing on Wednesday, the judge said because people had probably already traveled to Florida for the meeting, he would not issue an injunction,” Edmond told BlackAmericaWeb.com. The claims in the lawsuit about the group’s failure to follow bylaws and the method in which Farris was ousted will be addressed at a future hearing, Edmond said.
One of the problems with SCLC over the years has been its “sloppy way of doing business,” Edmond said. “There is a need for strong institutions like the SCLC. This lawsuit will help heal an organization that is crippled by forcing the leadership to follow the checks and balances in its bylaws and in Georgia state law.”
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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