Forrest County NAACP says city council vote vengeful and racist - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Forrest County NAACP says city council vote vengeful and racist

Monday afternoon, local chapter members of the NAACP were outraged over Hattiesburg City Council's decision. Monday afternoon, local chapter members of the NAACP were outraged over Hattiesburg City Council's decision.
HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) -

Monday afternoon, local chapter members of the NAACP expressed their outraged over the Hattiesburg City Council's decision to not appoint two members of the school district's board of trustees.

The local NAACP president, residents of the community, and church leaders stood on the steps of city hall condemning what they call actions of revenge by the council.

Those who spoke out say not only did revenge play a part in the council's decision, but race did as well.

"When you have a school system that is overwhelming black, the issue of contention is the re-appointment of two school board members that are black, by a mayor who is black, the two council members voting to confirm the appointments are black, and then two council members voting against the appointment are white." said Zion Chapel Pastor Charles Bartley.

Bartley read a letter prepared for the Hattiesburg City Council, during the NAACP press conference.

"And you have the appearance of a classical racial divide,"said Bartley.

Bartley, along with members of the NAACP criticized the Hattiesburg City Council's decision to not re-appointing Fred Burns and Eleanor Harris to the Hattiesburg Public School District's Board of Trustees. President of the Forrest County NAACP, Clarence Magee, says racism played a major part in the decision.

"What was written in the paper. What was stated on TV. There is no other ground for anything else," said Magee.

"Those board members who can not speak for themselves. We are representing the children of the Hattiesburg Public School System. That's who we are representing," said Magee.

Magee says the council's vote was an act of revenge stemming from school budget issues.

"There is no thoughts about it. I know it is. It's revenge. The court ruled the school board had a right to make their request. The city council has the responsibility to make that request happen not to micro manager what they submit to them,"said Magee.

Councilwoman Deborah Delgado, who voted to keep the ousted members, stood in support of the group.

Copyright 2012 WDAM. All rights reserved.

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