NAACP Shake Up

This comes from this morning’s USA Today:

The NAACP, this nation’s oldest and largest civil rights group, is undergoing another seismic change — one that threatens its claim to leadership of the continuing struggle for racial equality.

In a surprise move, Kweisi Mfume — the group’s president and CEO — will announce today that he is quitting the job he has held for nine years.

Mfume’s departure comes amid long-running rumors of bad blood between him and Julian Bond, chairman of its board of directors. During the weekend, both men tried to put a good face on the announcement.

On Nov. 5, Mfume sent a letter to Bush congratulating him on his re-election victory and requesting a meeting to heal their badly strained relations.

“I hope that you will agree with the idea of sitting down together face to face to begin a process that bridges the chasm that for too long has divided our organization and your administration,” Mfume wrote Bush. That hardly sounds like the pleadings of a man about to quit his job.

Mfume’s departure also comes just a month after the NAACP revealed that the Internal Revenue Service is reviewing its tax-exempt status. The IRS said it is taking this action because of Bond’s convention speech, which blasted Bush’s policies “on education, the economy and the war in Iraq.” Federal tax-exempt organizations are required to be non-partisan.

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