With mid-term elections on Nov. 6 fast approaching, the Liberty County NAACP is focusing its efforts on voter registration, along with engaging youth and being a voice for society’s vulnerable.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was established in 1909. The local branch was started in 1952, and received its charter the following year.
“Our mission is always to help the least of ours,” Liberty County Branch NAACP President Graylan Quarterman said. “Those without a voice or those who will not speak for themselves.”
One primary way to make citizens’ voices heard is at the ballot box, according to Quarterman.
Local branch members have been going door-to-door, urging residents to vote and check to make sure they are registered, he said. Quarterman claims two people that chapter members contacted Tuesday thought they were registered, but when NAACP members checked the individuals’ statuses on the Georgia Secretary of State’s smartphone app, it was discovered they were not.
“So we added them back electronically,” Quarterman said. He encourages residents to check their voting status at sos.ga.gov., to ensure they have not been purged from voter rolls.
“There are thousands of individuals who have been purged from the rolls in Liberty County,” the NAACP branch president claimed. Quarterman said the Secretary of State’s office provided the local NAACP branch voter purge statistics after it sent in a Freedom of Information Act request.
According to Quarterman, 3,400 African American voters were purged from the rolls in Liberty County. He added that more than 560 voters in Long County’s black community were also purged from the rolls. The Courier has not been able to verify these numbers with the Secretary of State’s office.
The branch is willing to partner with other organizations to help voters register, and will provide transportation to voters who need a ride to the polls, both during advance voting and on Election Day, Quarterman said.
The last day to register to vote in the Nov. 6 election is Tuesday, Oct. 9. To register online, go to registertovote.sos.ga.gov.
Another of the branch’s efforts is to engage youth, he said.
“We will put them in a position to lead us into the future,” Quarterman said. “In doing this, the future will not catch us unprepared.”
Branch donations go toward leadership training and scholarships, the branch president said.
The branch awards four $500 scholarships each year, two to Bradwell Institute students and two to Liberty County High students, he said.
Quarterman acknowledges the strides African Americans have made in Liberty County, but says more improvements need to be made.
“In our community, we have seen African Americans elected in just about every top leadership position in the county,” he said. “However, our economic status has not changed progressively. Therefore, the Liberty County branch of the NAACP has the responsibility and pledges to continue the immediate and necessary dialogue to level the playing field on economic growth.”
The branch will hold its 66th Annual Freedom Fund Banquet Saturday, Oct. 13, at Fort Stewart’s Club Stewart. Tickets cost $50 per person.
The guest speaker will be attorney Willie Gary, known for defending his clients against large corporations. The original speaker, South Carolina Congressman Jim Clyburn, had scheduling conflicts and was unable to appear, according to Quarterman.
The branch president said several awards will be given at the banquet, including: the Ralph W. Quarterman Award, given to an individual who has demonstrated great concern and support for civil rights issues; the W. C. Shipman Trailblazer Award, given to an individual who has blazed a trail by being first in a particular vocation or discipline through leadership and unmatched determination; and the E. B. Cooper Educational Award is based on educational leadership and service to the community.
For more information, call 912-408-2278.