Lawyer: Former president of North Carolina NAACP found dead

Jul 20, 2022, 2:30 PM | Updated: 5:15 pm
FILE - The Rev. T. Anthony Spearman, then-president of the North Carolina NAACP, crumples up a mail...

FILE - The Rev. T. Anthony Spearman, then-president of the North Carolina NAACP, crumples up a mailer which tells voters that IDs are needed in the upcoming 2020 election during a news conference outside the Legislative Building in Raleigh, N.C., on Dec. 27, 2019. Spearman, a civil rights advocate and former president of the N.C., branch of the NAACP who also served as president of the N.C. Council of Churches, has been found dead, his attorney said Wednesday, July 20, 2022. (Ethan Hyman/The News & Observer via AP, File)/The News & Observer via AP)

(Ethan Hyman/The News & Observer via AP, File)

The Rev. T. Anthony Spearman, a civil rights advocate and former president of the North Carolina branch of the NAACP who also served as president of the N.C. Council of Churches, has been found dead, authorities said Wednesday.

Spearman, 71, was found in his home on Tuesday, the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. The release indicated that either family or friends found him, but did not provide any further details.

The death was confirmed earlier in the day by Mark Cummings, a Greensboro attorney who said he was representing Spearman. Cummings declined to provide additional details about the death and did not say what he was representing Spearman for.

“In the mold of Dr. King, he truly was a drum major for justice,” Cummings said. “He saw the good in everybody in every situation, even those of his detractors, even those who would criticize him. He always found a way to see the best in them.”

Cummings said he would call on state officials to assist local law enforcement in an investigation.

Spearman’s family issued a statement calling him “a man of strong conviction who loved his family with every ounce of his being.” A family member didn’t respond on Wednesday to a request for additional comment.

Spearman was elected as North Carolina NAACP president in 2017 and served one four-year term.

Bishop William J. Barber, who preceded Spearman as the North Carolina NAACP president and who is now president of the national, not-for-profit organization Repairers of the Breach, said in a statement, “I have lost a true brother in the struggle.”

“We have lost a scholar, a preacher, a voting rights defender, an advocate for prison reform and for the wrongfully accused and a stalwart soldier in the cause of love and justice for all humankind,” Barber said. “This great man’s efforts and commitment should be cherished.”

Spearman was suspended from the NAACP by the organization’s national leadership about five months ago, The News & Observer reported, quoting NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson as saying that Spearman repeatedly refused to turn over N.C. NAACP property — which included meeting minutes and financial records — after he lost his bid for reelection in 2021.

Spearman filed a lawsuit in June against several state and national NAACP officials, accusing them of defamation and conspiracy to remove him from the presidency, WRAL reported. He alleged that his support of a woman who said she was sexually harassed by a member of the state conference led to the effort to have him ousted and made him a target of retribution, the story said.

The man who was accused, the Rev. Curtis Gatewood, has in the past denied any kind of sexual assault or intentional sexual harassment, although he told The Associated Press in a 2019 statement that he didn’t “deny the feelings of my accusers.”

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Gatewood added, “I have no other comments regarding the specifics of the matter at the time and believe enough has been said, documented, and presented for God to allow even a blind man to ‘see’ if seeing is truly desired.”

Gatewood said in a separate post on Tuesday that while he and Spearman disagreed on issues involving the state NAACP, “I loved the brother.”

“I wanted the news of his demise to be untrue,” Gatewood wrote. “I forgave him.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Heavy rains pelt New Zealand, forcing hundreds to evacuate

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Heavy rain continued to pelt New Zealand on Thursday, causing further disruptions and road closures from a storm that has already forced hundreds of people to evacuate their homes. Residents in the northern part of North Island found themselves isolated after landslides, fallen trees and floodwaters blocked highway access. The […]
21 hours ago
FILE - Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak speaks during a news conference on April 29, 2021, in Las Vegas. S...
Associated Press

Nevada gov vows to codify order protecting patients into law

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said Wednesday that if he wins re-election he would seek to codify in law next legislative session an order he signed that protects in-state abortion providers and out-of-state patients. “Governors are the last line of defense in protecting reproductive freedoms,” he said. “The buck stops with us.” […]
21 hours ago
FILE - Visitors review new Asus computer products at the Computex trade show in Taipei, Taiwan, Tue...
Associated Press

US to hold trade talks with Taiwan in new show of support

BEIJING (AP) — The U.S. government plans talks with Taiwan on a wide-ranging trade treaty in a sign of support for the self-ruled island democracy claimed by China’s ruling Communist Party as part of its territory. The announcement Thursday comes after Beijing held military drills that included firing missiles into the sea to intimidate Taiwan […]
21 hours ago
Associated Press

Seattle CEO who cut his pay so workers earned $70K resigns

SEATTLE (AP) — A Seattle CEO who announced in 2015 that he was giving himself a drastic pay cut to help cover the cost of big raises for his employees has announced his resignation. Dan Price, the embattled CEO of credit card processing company Gravity Payments, resigned Wednesday, The Seattle Times reported. Price stunned his […]
21 hours ago
FILE - Construction crews install new border wall sections seen from Tijuana, Mexico., Jan. 9, 2019...
Associated Press

Judge: Suit by group critical of immigration can proceed

A group calling for sharply limiting immigration has scored a legal victory in its federal lawsuit arguing the Biden administration violated environmental law when it halted construction of the U.S. southern border wall and sought to undo other immigration policies by former President Donald Trump.
21 hours ago
FILE - Wild horses that were captured from U.S. rangeland stand in a holding pen, at the U.S. Burea...
Associated Press

Biggest US holding pen planned for wild horses faces suit

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Advocates for wild horses are accusing federal land managers of illegally approving plans for the largest U.S. holding facility for thousands of mustangs captured on public rangeland in 10 Western states. Friends of Animals said in a lawsuit filed Tuesday up to 4,000 horses would be held captive inhumanely for months […]
21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
Lawyer: Former president of North Carolina NAACP found dead