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MN Dept of Ed Project Director questioned re: NAACP Parent Info Centers   |   Two letters from Morgan Brown to Commissioner Yecke & others

MN Dept of Ed Project Director questioned re: NAACP Parent Info Centers
NAACP Parent Information Center informational meeting
March 25, 2005, 6:00-6:45 PM  

Two representatives of the Minnesota Department of Education were on hand to give a brief report followed by a question and answer session: Morgan Brown, Director of the Minnesota Voluntary School Choice Project, and Marceline Dubose, Parent Info Center project manager,

During the question and answer session I referred to an open letter to the national NAACP Board of Directors, which was published as a guest editorial in the August 13, 2003 edition of One Nation News [A free weekly newspaper oriented to the Black Community in the Twin Cities], "NAACP member tells president, board to do the right thing, by Doug Mann." From the first paragraph of that editorial I read,

On June 28, 2003 a two-thirds majority of active members of the Minneapolis Branch passed a motion to instruct the branch president to take no steps toward opening any "Parent Information Centers" and to return $152,400 (plus interest) the branch received from the Minnesota Department of Education to set up two Parent Information Centers..."

I also pulled from my attaché case a photo static copy of a letter from Evelyn Eubanks to Barbara Zohn, dated June 30, 2003, and read the entire text:

"On June 28, 2003, the General Membership of the Minneapolis Branch of the NAACP voted to return the grant money for the Parent Information Centers due to a lack of oversight of the educational lawsuit and a conflict of interest

"Please be aware that the NAACP Constitution and By-laws do not allow the Branch President or Executive Board to act independently of, or reverse decisions made by, the General membership in matters such as these. Therefore, any further attempts to collect, retain, or acquire additional revenues for the Parent Information Center by individual members or officers of the Minneapolis Branch without authorization from the General membership would constitute fraud and intentional dereliction of duty."

"[Signed] Evelyn Eubanks, Resigned Chair of the Parent Information Centers Commission. CC: Paula Edme, NAACP Chief of Field Operations, Julian Bond, President NAACP National Board of Directors, Kweisi Mfume, President / CEO, National NAACP, Reverend Gil Ford, NAACP Region IV Director"

I asked Mr. Brown if he had seen the June 30 letter from Eubanks to Zohn. Response: "I think I heard about it."

Then I asked Mr. Brown what he did to verify statements by Minneapolis NAACP Branch officers that a majority of the Minneapolis Branch membership supported going forward with the Parent Information Center Project.  Mr. Brown stated something to the effect that he relied on statements made by the Minneapolis NAACP Branch Officers.

As the following two letters show, Mr. Morgan Brown was well-informed about infighting in the NAACP that raised "...Serious doubts that the organization can fulfill the commitments it made in the grant proposal...and puts all of the grant funding at risk (July 9, 2003 letter)"  [Descriptive title of the grant: Minnesota's Voluntary Choice Project, Project manager: Barbara Zohn, date: August 16, 2002].

Copies of the Grant Proposal were first made available to the NAACP general membership by Barbara Zohn at a meeting of the [NAACP] Family Information Centers Commission, May 5, 2003. The May 31, 2003 general membership meeting of the Minneapolis NAACP branch was adjourned before any business was done. The first opportunity for the Branch membership to make an informed decision about the project was June 28, 2003.

Link to Two letters from Morgan Brown to Commissioner Yecke & others