Bruce Gordon, President of the NAACP resigned today, after only 19 months, citing problems with the board.
I wrote a piece about the NAACP right after Mfume left his post. Here’s an important snippet:
the NAACP is a highly centralized organization, with a bloated executive board. While local branches have some latitude, their responses to local issues involving race and/or racism have to be vetted by someone at National Headquarters. But the speed at which society moves can be dizzying. How quickly did the Indiana-Detroit NBA fracas die down after it was all that occupied the web for about a week? More importantly, how soon did the press drop the ball on the administration plan to cut Pell Grants significantly? Think about the speed at which decisions have to be made at the local, state, and federal level.
Now think about having to sift at least some of those decisions through a 64 member Executive Board. Think about what it would take to get them together (even virtually) to take a vote. Think about what type of event would have to happen to get them all on one accord. Because the NAACP wants to at some level protect the National Headquarters and the other branches from the potential mistakes of local branch leaders it has developed a top-down model. But a strong argument can be made that this top-down model squashes the ability of branches to develop unique solutions to their own problems. It also hampers the ability of local chapters to quickly and efficiently deal with issues as they arise.