Compiled by MCJ Staff
In an election overseen by the national office of the NAACP, long time civil rights attorney James Hall was chosen the Milwaukee NAACP branch’s new president Saturday, defeating the branch’s vice president Wendell Harris.
Hall will replace outgoing branch President Jerry Ann Hamilton, who did not seek reelection. Hamilton served as president of the organization for the past 10 years.
The election, held at Metropolitan Baptist Church, 1345 W. Burleigh St., was the culmination of a protracted clash between Milwaukee branch members and officers and a group of self-described reformers who questioned the way the branch was being run.
Members of the reform—faction were also present at the election—even though they were prohibited from voting by the national office after reportedly violating NAACP bylaws prohibiting public disclosure of branch matters .
Other reform members protested the election across the street from the church, which was the site for the election instead of the NAACP’s headquarters on Martin Luther King Drive, due to road construction.
But the election was reportedly conducted without incident. Members who voted credited Rev. Gil Ford for the way the election was run.
Ford was sent by the national office in Baltimore to oversee the election.
Harris reportedly said after the election that he will support Hall’s efforts as the new president to move the organization forward, adding he was satisfied by the way the branch election was conducted.
Hall reportedly said he will reach out to Harris and his supporters to unify the branch and move it forward in addressing civil rights issues and non-civil rights issues facing the community.
A number of political and civil rights figures were also present at the election, including former Milwaukee branch President Felmers Chaney.