Was Kweisi Mfume Fired?
Armstrong Williams asserts “NAACP Head Mfume Didn’t Retire, He Was Booted Out.”
DonÃ¢€™t believe the well scripted press conference where former President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Kweisi Mfume, announced his resignation. Mfume did not resign from the nationÃ¢€™s oldest and most prestigious civil rights organization. He was kicked out, following a long simmering feud with NAACP Chairman Julian Bond.
The two began feuding after Mfume nominated National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice for his 2003 NAACP Image Award. Furious that Mfume was reaching out to the Bush administration, Bond responded by nominating “Boondocks” cartoonist Aaron McGruder for his Image Award. McGruder had ridiculed Rice in his comic strip and later called her a Ã¢€œmurdererÃ¢€ for her role in the war in Iraq. The rift grew as Mfume continued to reach out to the Republican Party. Mfume realized that by reflexively voting Democrat in every election, the black voting populace has given away most of their political bartering power.
The final tear came after the election. Mfume suggested sending a letter to President Bush, mapping out ways that they could work together to help the community. Bond rejected the idea. Mfume sent the letter anyway. To Bond, this was an unforgivable. A few weeks later, Bond had Mfume voted out. The message was clear: There is no room within the NAACP for intellectual diversity. Just loyal servitude to the Democratic Party.
I’m not sure where Williams got this information, as he’s certainly not on the “A” list in NAACP circles, but this is an interesting story if true. As I noted upon news of Mfume’s retirement, “he presided over its further degradation by allowing it to engage in vile hatemongering for dubious partisan advantage.” To the extent that he was fighting against this rather than leading it, he deserves credit. Regardless, however, the fact that the Bond wing of the group consistently won out demonstrates that Mfume was not the right man for the job.