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Charles Dale attends NAACP national convention

When the national convention for the NAACP was held July 16-20 in Cincinnati, Ohio, a local man was among the attendees.

The Rev. Charles A. Dale, along with three other delegates from the Tri-County branch of the NAACP, serving Franklin, Lauderdale and Colbert counties, attended the week-long conference, along with about 75 other people from the state of Alabama. Dale said it was an educational and encouraging week of learning about the history of black people in America and the challenges minority groups face today.

This was the 107th year for the convention, which this year boasted the theme “Our Lives Matter. Our Votes Count.” It was held at the Duke Energy Center. Local delegates joining Dale for the trip were Betty Robinson, treasurer, Muscle Shoals; Joyce Nelson, legal redress secretary, Florence; and Ann Phillips, membership chairman, Florence. Dale is first vice president. Local president is Tori Bailey; state president is Bernard Simelton; and national president is Cornell Williams Brooks.

Dale said he was proud of the many resolutions passed by the NAACP during the convention, including a resolution “Encouraging Proficiency in the Lawful Use of Mobile Video to Record Possible Civil Rights Violations,” another celebrating the life of Muhammad Ali and one to oppose “Continuing Violence in African American Communities; Urges State and Local Units to Continue to Work Towards Solutions.”

Dale also praised a memorial service held for Middle Passage, who died during the Journey for Justice march held in 2015.

“The convention as a whole was so good and so informational. I just regret more of our branch couldn’t have gone,” Dale said. “Next year we are going to work toward carrying more members.”

Attendees got the chance to visit the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, featuring dozens of interactive exhibits.

“Being black, and seeing what my forefathers and parents had gone through to get to where we are today – it’s really sad, but it’s a joy to know we had somebody to pave the way for us,” Dale said. “The saddest part about it is that our young people today … who have been born with a gold spoon in their mouths don’t even have any idea of why things are possible for them now – what we have gone through to make it possible to have what they have.”

As noted by NAACP’s website, “Founded Feb. 12. 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest, largest and most widely recognized grassroots-based civil rights organization. Its more than half-million members and supporters throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, campaigning for equal opportunity and conducting voter mobilization.”

“The NAACP is not just for blacks. It’s for poor whites and anybody whose civil rights have been violated,” Dale said. “We are here to uphold the freedom of anybody.”