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Dayhoff: Carroll County NAACP enters its third decade of leadership

Members of the Carroll County chapter of the NAACP stop for a picture taken by a passerby, at the White House after participating in the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington on Aug. 24, 2013. From left to right: John Lewis, Dr. Pam Zappardino, Dr. Charles Collyer, Virginia Harrison, Jean Lewis, Anna-Mari Halstead, Judge Charles Harrison, Cheron Norris, Kevin Dayhoff and Xiomara Pierre.
Members of the Carroll County chapter of the NAACP stop for a picture taken by a passerby, at the White House after participating in the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington on Aug. 24, 2013. From left to right: John Lewis, Dr. Pam Zappardino, Dr. Charles Collyer, Virginia Harrison, Jean Lewis, Anna-Mari Halstead, Judge Charles Harrison, Cheron Norris, Kevin Dayhoff and Xiomara Pierre. (Kevin Dayhoff)

In Carroll County, on Nov. 14, 1963, Jean S. Evans and Bailey Conaway walked into the drugstore lunch room of Mayor Bernard McDougall of Sykesville looking for something to eat and were refused service. The incident was documented “in the form of a letter on Jan. 2, 1964,” according to an article in the Baltimore Sun on Jan. 3 and Jan. 10, 1964. Apparently at the time, “they entered the establishment to discover that the luncheonette provided only carryout service to nonwhite customers…”

The Carroll County Board of Commissioners stepped in immediately and addressed the matter. This was months before the Maryland Public Accommodations Act went into effect on June 1, 1964, which outlawed segregation. The newspaper reported, “The mayor admitted to segregation … Evans and Conaway ate in the mayor’s lunchroom on Jan. 9, 1964. …”

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Nationally, about 10 years earlier, one of the world’s best-known advocates of non-violent social change strategies, Dr. Martin Luther King, first burst on the national leadership screen on Dec. 5, 1955, five days after Montgomery civil rights activist Rosa Parks refused to obey the city’s rules mandating segregation on buses. King had a great impact upon our nation and the world but it didn’t come easily. He encountered strong criticism from more militant leaders such as Stokely Carmichael and Malcolm X.

Closer to home in Westminster in the 1950s and 60s, we had our own community leaders who worked hard in the face of enormous obstacles to do the right thing and fight human injustice.

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Folks who have brought about positive change in our community such as Ira Zepp, Del Palmer, Charles Crain, Bill David, Sam Case, and Wray Mowbray. We owe them — and the Baltimore Colts — a deep debt of gratitude.

The Baltimore Colts began their summer practice at Western Maryland College in the late 1950s. Many folks credit the Colts and the dynamic of having African American athletes on the team as a major impetus in the desegregation of Westminster.

In an article in the Carroll County Times on June 11, 1999 by Kevin Griffis, it was reported that, "Leon Bradley Dorsey Jr. will lead the Carroll County chapter of the NAACP into the next millennium as the organization’s new president. After a yearlong struggle to get the organization off the ground, local members met Thursday night to select officers…

“Kingston, Jamaica-born Joseph Murray … will be the first vice president. Winifrey Blagmond will be the second vice president, and Vaughn Paylor will be the third vice president. Patricia Staples was elected secretary…”

On Nov. 21, 2000, an article in the Carroll County Times by Megen Wessel, reported the “Carroll County chapter of the NAACP … was re-established in 1999 after a year-long struggle … to renew its charter. The organization failed in 1993 … The Baltimore-based national body officially recognized Carroll’s NAACP branch in mid-May 1999 and ordered elections…”

In November 2000, the leadership of the Carroll County branch included, Phyllis Black, president, and “Joseph Murray as the first vice president; John Lewis will serve as second vice president; and Vaughn Paylor will be third vice president for the chapter. Carol Murray was elected secretary and George Murphy was elected to serve as treasurer for a second time…”

The Carroll County Commissioners and the leadership of the Carroll County Branch of the NAACP stop for a photo at an event in the fall of 2002. From left to right: Joe Murray, Commissioner Perry Jones, John Lewis, Commissioner Dean Minnich, and Dan Schaller.
The Carroll County Commissioners and the leadership of the Carroll County Branch of the NAACP stop for a photo at an event in the fall of 2002. From left to right: Joe Murray, Commissioner Perry Jones, John Lewis, Commissioner Dean Minnich, and Dan Schaller. (Kevin Dayhoff)

Over 20 years later, the work of the local NAACP for social justice continues. Later this month, on Nov. 19, the local Carroll County Branch 7014 of the NAACP will hold an election of officers at its monthly meeting at 7 p.m.

The local branch meetings are held the fourth Thursday of the month in a first floor conference room in the Carroll Nonprofit Center at 255 Clifton Blvd. November and December meetings are held on the third Thursdays. According to the safety guidelines due to the coronavirus pandemic of 2020, the meetings have been held virtually on Zoom since spring. For more information about the local NAACP or becoming a member, email the local branch at ccnaacp7014@gmail.com.

The Carroll County NAACP 2021-2022 Election Ballot includes, President: Rodney Morris, 1st Vice President: Dr. Pamela Zappardino, 2nd Vice President: Jean Lewis, Secretary: Kimberly Jones, Assistant Secretary: Kevin Dayhoff, Treasurer: Vaughn Paylor, Assistant Treasurer: Dr. Charles Collyer, Members of the Executive Committee: Russell Dick, John Lewis, Rhanee Perkins, Rev. Erin Snell, and Terry Whye.

Over 50 years after King’s death, we still have work to do. As leaders in the past have taught us, leadership is facilitating change by way of leading folks to a place that they may not have the foresight to understand that they need to go.

Resolving social and economic problems enhances, directly and indirectly, the strength and stability of our community. Our families and community cannot prosper if local leaders or society fails.

An important facet of Carroll County’s future lies in welcoming and attracting diversity to our community. We need all hands on deck.

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In order to go forward we need to meaningfully address old wounds. At a minimum, to begin with, that can be accomplished by talking about it. A discussion need not be divisive or polarizing. Done correctly it can bring us closer together. By honestly facing the past we can embrace the future.

Kevin Dayhoff writes from Westminster. His Time Flies column appears every Sunday. Email him at kevindayhoff@gmail.com.

Carroll County NAACP Branch #7014 Executive Officers and Executive Board Nov. 10, 2016: From left to right - President Jean Lewis, 1st Vice President: Dr. Pam Zappardino, Assistant Treasurer: Dr. Charles Collyer, Treasurer: Vaughn Paylor, Secretary: Kevin Dayhoff, 2nd Vice President: John Lewis, and 3rd Vice President: Rodney Morris.
Carroll County NAACP Branch #7014 Executive Officers and Executive Board Nov. 10, 2016: From left to right - President Jean Lewis, 1st Vice President: Dr. Pam Zappardino, Assistant Treasurer: Dr. Charles Collyer, Treasurer: Vaughn Paylor, Secretary: Kevin Dayhoff, 2nd Vice President: John Lewis, and 3rd Vice President: Rodney Morris. (Caroline Babylon)

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