NAACP Sues Its Cincinnati Branch

AP Photo/Dave Martin
AP Photo/Dave Martin

The NAACP’s national office is attacking its own Cincinnati branch, accusing it of trademark infringement and deceptive acts under Ohio law.

The NAACP claims the Cincinnati branch, which was founded in 1915, has portrayed itself as a sanctioned NAACP entity, despite the fact that the NAACP had demanded its dissolution on December 14, 2014. The lawsuit filed by the NAACP on June 30 also names the incorporators of the Cincinnati branch: Beverly J. Morton, Ishton W. Morton, and Lettie P. Reid, and asks for $300,000 in damages, as well as the elimination of anything that claims the Cincinnati branch belongs to the NAACP.

The NAACP asserts that the three incorporators’s memberships were suspended but they still can access the accounts of the chapter; as much as $30,000 belonging to the chapter has been spent. The NAACP said the Cincinnati branch was scheming to “deceive the public.”

In October 2014, the Ohio Secretary of State’s office gave the Cincinnati branch its articles of incorporation, but the branch’s request violated NAACP bylaws, according to the national organization. By December 2014, the national office sought to have the Cincinnati branch dissolve, but the branch ignored the demand.

The NAACP national convention in 2016 is scheduled for Cincinnati, for the second time in the last eight years. Cornell William Brooks, NAACP president and CEO, enthused:

2016 will be a pivotal year in our nation’s history, and we believe there is absolutely no better venue for our 107th convention than Cincinnati. The city’s history as a major station on the Underground Railroad coupled with its location in the center of the Ohio Valley provide an excellent backdrop for a convention that will attract candidates who want to serve as the leader of the free world.