The Morgan County Branch of the NAACP was organized in 1969 due to racial outrage in the community. Society did not accept interracial relationships. Many black men during this time were hospitalized, jailed, and many died for having relationships with a white woman.
A biracial couple was in a relationship. The white community did not like it. The white woman accused the black man of rape. A charge that had carried a lengthy prison sentence. The black community did not like it because they knew the accusation was not true.
A group of individuals saw the need for a local NAACP to advocate for those of color who were subject to racial inequality on a regular basis and could not fight against such injustice. Some of those courageous individuals were James Edwards, Walter Curtis Butler, Jr., Willie Cook, Laverne (Bird) Dorsey Veasley. The first branch president was Albert Jones. Mr. Walter C. Butler, Jr. was branch president six months later in 1970. Other presidents include Mr. James Edwards in 1982, Rev. James McCray in 1998, and Mrs. Laura W. Butler in 2000. Our current branch president is Mr. Kendrick Simmons, Sr. who was elected in 2018.
The branch meetings were held at Calvary Baptist Church and Jones and Turner Funeral Home. As time passed, the branch was fortunate to have their own meeting place donated by lifetime member, Mrs. Marie Martin Bass. It was located on West Washington St which is known today as the Tea Room. In November 2018, we were blessed with new office location on Monticello Rd referred to as the old Wellington building. The new office location gives us the space we need to help the community.
The Morgan County Branch of the NAACP was instrumental in a number of individuals seeking justice against discrimination. The Morgan County Branch and the American Civil Liberties Union attorney, Christopher Coates, sued the city of Madison and Morgan County for having only one district which was at large voting. With only one district, it was not representing the diverse community well. The NAACP won the suit for district voting and currently we have five districts for city, county, and school.
Over the years, a many black officials have represented our community. Those who have made history are as follows:
Mr. Walter C. Butler, first black county commissioner
Mr. Sam Bishop, first black city councilman
Mrs. Carrie Peters-Reid, first elected black woman on city council
Rev. Fred Perriman, first black mayor of Madison