The 2017 NAACP Listening Tour and Town Hall Meeting’s Nashville stop was hosted by the Gordon Memorial United Methodist Church on November 6. The tour was presented by the NAACP State Conference and doubled as a ‘meet and greet’ for the organization’s new president. Derrick Johnson, attorney, is the new national president/CEO.
Johnson is well informed on the issues, and he arrived battle ready for championing these issues. On October 21, the executive committee of the NAACP National Board of Directors elected Derrick Johnson president/CEO. Johnson formerly served as vice chairman of the NAACP National Board of Directors as well as state president for the Mississippi State Conference NAACP.
A longstanding member and leader of the NAACP, Johnson will guide the Association through a period of re-envisioning and re-invigoration, also serving as the NAACP’s primary spokesperson.
Born in Detroit, Michigan, Johnson attended Tougaloo College in Jackson, Miss. He then continued onto Houston, Texas to receive his JD degree from the South Texas College of Law. In later years, Johnson furthered his training through fellowships with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, the George Washington University School of Political Management, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He has served as an annual guest lecturer at Harvard Law School, lending his expertise to Professor Lani Guinier’s course on social movements, and currently works as an adjunct professor at Tougalo College.
While being a part of the town hall style panel, Johnson answered question from the audience and effectively made his views public. A light meal was also served, and afterwards guests proceeded to the sanctuary for the program.
Rev. Charles L. White, Gordon Memorial senior pastor, introduced Moderator Harriet Vaughn-Wallace and gave the opening prayer and the general welcome. After the introduction of the chairman and president was made, both men rendered some strong, empowering, pertinent remarks.
The floor was open to questions and answers, allowing random members of the audience to raise their hands for the microphones. Moderators were on hand to help keep the integrity of the session on point and on time.
The sanctuary was filled to overflowing with a mixture of clergy men and women, community leaders, elected officials and lay people seeking answers and the opportunity to meet the organizations new president. Nashville’s NAACP President Ludye Wallace; Nashville Branch 2nd Vice President Allen; and Sheryl and Kathy Buggs from Congressman Jim Cooper’s office were on hand sharing some hometown hospitality. Other NAACP dignitaries from the national office included Magdalene Zier, analyst for executive policy and projects; Aba G. Blankson, vice president of communications and digital media; Jackson/Madison County NAACP President Harrell C. Carter, Jr.; Ames E. Ross, MSHA, BSN, AEMT, president/CEO and 85th District of Shelby County (Memphis) Tennessee House of Representatives; Johnnie R. Turner; and Nashville’s own pastor of Lee Chapel AME Church and State House of Representative District 58, Rep. Harold M. Love, Jr.
Kudos to the DuGard Agency, Perri DuGard and her team, for handling local and national arrangements.