Saturday, September 29, 2001

Cleveland branch, NAACP may square off

The Associated Press

        CLEVELAND — NAACP Cleveland President George Forbes said Friday the branch probably will take the national organization to court if it continues to demand that Mr. Forbes be removed from office.

        It's a battle he said he would prefer to avoid.

        “I have fought all of my life for rights of black people. I'm not in a mood to fight a black civil rights organization in order to fight for civil rights,” Mr. Forbes said. “I have tried not to be strident, but on this issue they are wrong.”

        The Cleveland chapter's executive board unanimously reinstated Mr. Forbes on Wednesday, more than two weeks after national leaders dismissed him for failing to complete a one-day training session for branch officers.

        Mr. Forbes said he missed the training because he was undergoing treatment for prostate cancer.

        Nelson B. Rivers III, director of national field operations, said although 400 officers in the NAACP's 1,600 branches were removed for failure to complete the training, Cleveland is the only branch that has sought to reinstate an ousted officer.

        “This is not about George Forbes,” Mr. Rivers said. “We acknowledge the contributions he has made to the NAACP. This is about the (national) board being able to apply its policies to everyone without exception.”

        Mr. Forbes, NAACP Cleveland branch president since 1992, is a lawyer and former Cleveland City Council president and has long been a leading political figure in Cleveland.


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