Cooper’s bid to overthrow Douzart as NAACP leader put on hold

Betty Cooper’s attempt to oust Rev. Ambrose Douzart as president of the local NAACP has hit a snag. The national and state officials have put the local election on hold, pending the outcome of an investigation of complaints filed in the National office.

Tuesday night, the branch’s executive committee met in a teleconference with State President Mike McCalahan and District G state Vice-President Wendy Calahan in which the local branch learned that its elections have been put on hold by orders of the National NAACP and the state.

According to Rev. Douzart the branch’s scheduled November 29th meeting will be held, but there will be no election.

Cooper surprised the local branch officials last month when she would not accept the branch nomination committee recommendation that she serve another term as branch vice-president. Instead, Cooper declined the nomination and introduced her own slate of officers to challenge Douzart’s leadership team.

Cooper nominated herself for president; Atty. Louis Scott and Atty. George Britton, for 1st and 2nd vice-president; Bridgett Ware as the secretary in opposition to the present secretary Apostle Grace Lloyd. She also nominated Police Juror Pat Moore for treasurer in opposition to Charles “C.D.” Heckard who has served as treasurer since 1980 and serves as state treasurer.

Cooper was critical of Douzart because he often takes public positions that she says embarrasses persons who are NAACP financial donors.

The most recent actions she opposed was Douzart’s public statements of support for city trash collectors who receive no benefits, contracts or health insurance from the city. Cooper criticized Douzart because she said it made Mayor Jamie Mayo look bad after the city gave the branch $3,000 to help sponsor the NAACP convention.

Douzart said the branch cannot turn a blind eye to the plight of the trash collectors and the problems of the poor. He said Martin Luther King was assassinated in Memphis for trying to speak on behalf of trash collectors.

“We appreciate the support,” said Douzart, but the plight of the trash collectors warrants NAACP attention.

Douzart has been praised by the state NAACP for his leadership of the local community’s unsuccessful fight to keep court supervision of the city school system as a way to protect against future discrimination attempts.

NAACP election was originally set for November 29th, but has been postponed pending state review of the eligibility of candidates and the oversight committee, Heckard said.

The October meeting ended with a heated exchange between Heckard and Cooper. Heckard accused Cooper of attempting to silence the branch for political reasons and grabbing power.

Cooper has been criticized by several branch leaders for reportedly attempting to deposit a large check made out to the branch into her personal acccount. Heckard said the National NAACP waged a nationwide voter registration campaign and sent money to local branches, through the state, to help.

Heckard said the branch received about $5,000 in two installments. He said Cooper received the first check and reportedly tried to deposit it into her personal bank account. The branch learned about the effort, according to Heckard, after the bank contacted him to verify that the deposit attempt was legitimate. He said it was not authorized.

He said the second check was properly deposited.

The national NAACP has strictly enforced guidelines for its elections which are held every two years. Members of the local branch complained about Cooper’s actions resulting in the state’s intervention.

Cooper is also running for a seat on the Monroe City School Board against Karen Gant, sister of Monroe City Councilwoman Juanita Woods.