Effort under way to revive Beaufort NAACP branch

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Effort under way to revive Beaufort NAACP branch

By ERIN MOODY
emoody@beaufortgazette.com
Published Tuesday, January 31, 2012   |  567 Words  |  

Inactive for years, the Burton-Dale-Beaufort NAACP is getting an adrenaline boost from residents who want to revive the organization.

The northern Beaufort County chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is reorganizing under the leadership of Beaufort resident Darryl Murphy, who is the second vice president of the Orangeburg branch.

Although his job as curator at S.C. State's I.P. Stanback Museum and Planetarium got him active in the Orangeburg community, Murphy sees a greater need for the organization in Beaufort.

"Orangeburg is where I work, but the branch is fairly strong. They don't need me, per se," he said. "The economic situation in Beaufort has not been very good for African Americans. We're going to have to be a very active organization, and I have no intentions of giving up on the reorganization."

Sustained effort will be key to revitalizing the organization, according to Larry Holman, president of the Beaufort County Black Chamber of Commerce.

"In order to be effective, these guys have to be out there doing something all the time," he said.

Murphy is working with the Rev. Venus Young -- a past branch president -- and Lawrence Washington. Both are lifetime chapter members.

For now, the Burton-Dale-Beaufort chapter is seeking residents who are lifetime or national members, or who are interested in joining, Murphy said. NAACP bylaws require a chapter to have 50 members before it can officially reorganize and elect officers, he said. Murphy does not know how many members the chapter has now.

The first reorganization meeting will be 7 p.m. Saturday at the Black Chamber of Commerce, 801 Bladen St., Beaufort.

The chapter officially became inactive in 2008, Murphy said, but he was unable to explain why. Beaufort County Black Chamber of Commerce president Larry Holman said the chapter stopped having a significant community presence about a decade ago, although the need remained.

The St. Helena/Lady's Island and the Hilton Head Island/Bluffton chapters are Beaufort County's remaining active chapters. Audrey Washington, secretary for the St. Helena/Lady's Island chapter, said a new group could help with education, voter registration and activism.

The area needs the NAACP, Washington said, and not just for the black community.

"Never look at color," she said. "(The NAACP) is for everybody because you know somebody is always going to be walked on, and we try to make sure that doesn't happen. If something is not going right and nobody ever says anything, then nothing is ever changed."

She was not concerned about losing members to the new chapter. Although several of her chapter's members live in the Beaufort area, she thinks it will be an opportunity to get new people involved.

Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/EyeonBeaufort.

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