Sussex County Leader Criticized Over NAACP Remarks

May 15, 2014

Sussex County Council Member Sam Wilson

Sussex County Council member Sam Wilson found himself explaining his decision not to provide a $100 grant this week to a program run by the Lower Sussex Branch NAACP Youth Council because the name included the phrase colored people.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that Wilson said he believed that the group only advocated for black people to the exclusion of white people.

The paper quotes Wilson as asking “How do you think it would fly if I said, ‘This is for the NAAWP?’” He went on to say that it was not his goal to say “the blacks are over there and the whites are over here.”

Council member Vance Phillips joined Wilson in not funding the group’s program.

The NAACP was founded in 1909 to combat lynchings and its founding membership was mostly white.

Jotaka Eaddy, the senior director of the group’s voting rights project told the paper, that the council members are not correct in assuming that the NAACP would reject anyone from joining on the basis of race.

Wilson said he got a lot of calls supporting his position and believed there African Americans who agreed with him.

But it drew a sharp rebuke from Richard Smith president of the Delaware chapter of the NAACP who said after hearing the exchange that he believed that Wilson and Phillips “seem to be bigots.”