Farris out as president of SCLC after nine months
C.T. Vivian takes over in interim
Southern Christian Leadership Conference national president Isaac Newton Farris Jr., who accepted the group’s top leadership post just nine months ago, has been replaced as head of the venerable civil rights organization, officials announced Friday.
SCLC board president Dr. Bernard LaFayette would not say whether Farris resigned or was removed, choosing instead to characterize the move as a “change in leadership” and a “transition” in the group’s history.
LaFayette thanked Farris for stepping up to help lead the organization after the untimely death of its president Howard Creecy last July, but said the SCLC now is looking for new, younger leadership.
“Isaac Farris stepped in and did a magnificent job. He gave us the best that he could and all that he could during this point in time,” LaFayette said. “Now we want to move forward with young leadership and encourage young people to carry out and expand the mission” of nonviolence.
LaFayette also would not comment substantially on speculation that Farris and board members frequently clashed over policy or about rumors that the board was growing increasingly dissatisfied with Farris’ leadership.
SCLC vice-president C.T. Vivian, who accepted that role in January, will take over as interim president, LaFayette said.
A search committee to identify a permanent replacement for Farris will be named in the coming weeks, he said. SCLC officials hope to identify a new candidate for the top post by the group’s annual convention this summer, he said.
African Americans have been the most rapidly advancing oppressed people in the history of the world, according to some major historians. To come from brutal and hard slavery, with virtually no legal basic human rights, to rise to lawmakers, local leaders and ultimately the presidency of the United States of America within a 400-year span is a feat surpassed by few, if any other people.
Rev. Dr. Howard W. Creecy, the new president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) who just last month outlined his vision to revive the historic civil rights organization, has died of an apparent heart attack. He was 57.
The belief that President Obama’s election heralded immediate change was so strong that shortly after his win, the blog Debate Link featured a Nov. 7, 2008, column entitled. “Do We Still Need Civil Rights After Obama?”
It is a penetrating question.
“So the concept is this basically: The whole Black nation has to be put together as a Black army. And we gon’ walk on this nation. We gon’ walk on the racist power structure. And we gone say to the government: “Stick em’ up motherf****r, this is a holdup. We’ve come for what’s ours”—an excerpt from the 1995 DVD “What We Want, What We Believe: the Black Panther Party Library.
Bernice Albertine King finally ended the long standoff with the organization her father helped found by refusing to become its next president.
Her decision continues to leave rudderless the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which has been beset with quarrels and infighting.