Local leaders aim to reactivate dormant Niles NAACP chapter

Published 2:30 pm Sunday, January 21, 2024

NILES — Local leaders are aiming to bring back a historic Niles organization to help address the needs of the community.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Planning Committee has announced a community event at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 25 in an effort to revitalize the Niles chapter of the NAACP. The gathering will take place at Mt Calvary Baptist Church, 601 Ferry Street, Niles, Michigan 49120, and extends an invitation to all businesses, churches, and community members in the Berrien area.

Founded in 1909, the organization is an interracial endeavor striving to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.

The NAACP Niles chapter began in March 1942 and had been a voice for human equality by addressing local issues through advocacy and communication, as well as sought to educate members and the public on history and current concerns before dissolving in 2018.

The event marks a significant step in the reestablishment process of the NAACP in the Niles/Buchanan area. The NAACP, a cornerstone of civil rights advocacy, is calling upon individuals and organizations to be part of the 100 applicants that will contribute to the resurgence of its vital presence in the community. Woodson, a member of the NAACP Planning Committee, believes that it is time to bring the organization back.

“We are a passionate group of people from all walks of life who have come together to address the needs of our community,” she said. “The community here feels that it is needed and we are going to reinstate it.”

The meeting provides a unique opportunity for community members to connect, share insights, and actively contribute to the conversation around equality and justice. During the event, applications for NAACP membership will be available, offering attendees the chance to play an integral role in the organization’s revival.Woodson said that both the president of the Michigan NAACP and the president of the NAACP Grand Rapids chapter will be on hand for the event.

“Come out and be with us and become active members of the NAACP,” Woodson said. “It is one of the oldest organizations that we have available for black people and people of all colors. It takes a village and we’re trying to get back to that village. We’ve always had a village and so we want that again.”

For more information, contact the NAACP Planning Committee at (269) 357-1151 or woodsonbeverly@yahoo.com.