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Elks speaker criticizes NAACP

June 19, 2000|By DON WORTHINGTON

The NAACP needs to spend more time in the nation's inner cities and less time debating controversies such as the flying of the Confederate flag at South Carolina's Capitol, the tri-state coordinator for civil liberties of the Improved Benevolent Protective Order of the Elks of the World said Monday.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has forgotten the inner city, the Rev. Imagene B. Stewart, tri-state civil liberties directress for the I.B.P.O.E. of W. charged on Monday.

"If they (the NAACP) had expended that much energy helping the inner city, the battle would be just about over," Stewart said.

Stewart's remarks came during the civil liberties session of the 82nd annual Tri-State Convention of the I.B.P.O.E. of W., More than 300 convention delegates from men's and women's lodges in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Delaware are meeting at the Venice Inn in Hagerstown.

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The convention opened Friday and concludes Wednesday. The event is hosted by the Pride of Hagerstown Elks Lodge No. 278 and Sharon Temple No.160.

Stewart, a Georgia native, said the NAACP's efforts to ban the flying of the flag at the South Carolina Capitol is "hurting workers, white, black, all of them."

A descendant of a black man who fought for the Confederacy, Stewart said the "NAACP feels I shouldn't be proud of him."

She added the "flag issues divides us there are so many things tearing this country apart we didn't need this."

Education, illicit drug use, health care and family values were issues convention delegates said need to be addressed in the U.S. presidential election. They noted, however, much of the work that needs to be done must be done by individuals, not by politicians or the government.

"The problem is we have other people raising other people's kids," said Tri-State President Clarence N. Crim Jr. of Dover, Del. "We've got a lot of complaints, we need some answers."

Crim and several other speakers said part of the solution is for I.B.P.O.E of W. members to become involved in their communities by offering to tutor young blacks, particularly young black males, in their schools.

"We need to do more for our youngsters, we've got to push them," said the Rev. Lloyd Reeves of Baltimore.

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