CHATTANOOGA HAMILTON COUNTY NAACP BRANCH
LET THE RECORD SHOW

Compiled by Eddie F. Holmes, Branch President 1997-2004
Sources used are the local media and branch minutes
Since the Chattanooga Hamilton County NAACP Branch opened her doors in 1942, many things have changed. Many other doors have been open and the goals and mission remains the same. The mission is to ensure the political, educational, social and economical equality of minority citizens in this country.
Early Years

The Early Years

October 28, 1947
Chattanooga Free Press: Negro Doctor Here Defends NAACP
In your issue on Monday, Oct. 20, there appears an editorial titled Against Charge of Aiding Enemies by Dr. P. A. Stevens.
Now, Mr. Editor, May we sit down and have a heart-to-heart talk? I cannot wholly agree with you on your reasoning on some of the issues you raise in this editorial
First, I wonder if we can conceive by any stretch of our imagination that the Negro is a human being created by the hand of an almighty, all wise, and omnipotent God just like He created all other peoples and human beings anywhere else in the world. Or are we to still look upon him as some king of a special monstrosity created for some certain kin of privileges and treatments less than those for other peoples and groups.
November 11, 1947
Chattanooga Free Press: NAACP Condemns Views of Newell
The Chattanooga Branch of the NAACP at its regular meeting took official notice of statement attributed to H. W. Newell, local Negro politician, to the effect that Negroes generally are not ready for the enjoyment of their full civil rights, and that Negroes of Chattanooga are not ready for the employment of Negroes as uniformed policemen."
May 4, 1956
Atty. Henry L. Pearson, President
Mrs. E. D. Pearson, recorder
Minutes of the Leadership Forum
The first Leadership Forum of the Chattanooga Branch of the NAACP was opened with the singing of "America."
In the opening statement Atty. Henry L. Pearson, President of the branch, said that upon assuming the Presidency of the Chattanooga Branch of the NAACP his attention was immediately focused to three specific areas.
  1. An organizational rebuilding program
  2. A branch-community relationship
  3. A specific branch program
Atty. Pearson said that the recent successes of the NAACP on a national-wide scale have given us new tools or weapons in our fight for complete freedom by '63.
January 12, 1957
Minutes of Executive Committee of the Tennessee State NAACP Conference:
Nashville, Tennessee
Mr. Bryson of Chattanooga pointed out that the Chattanooga Branch is back in operation after having been abandoned by its president, Atty. Pearson.
It is very difficult to list all of the accomplishments of the branch from the early 60's to the early 70's. This period was perhaps the most important period in the civil rights movement-however, the following are brief highlights of this most important era in the history of Chattanooga
  • The Branch provided financial support to the Freedom Fighters in Birmingham, Al.
  • The Branch Stage sit-in at the downtown Krystal Plants
  • Home Plate Restaurant open to Negroes
  • The Branch took direct action against S&W, Beef & Liberty, Krystal & Rasscheullar.s
  • Mayor Ralph Kelley takes the lead in desegregating the city movies, by taking some of his Negro friends to Brainerd Cinerama
  • Mayor Kelley appointed James Mapp and A. J. Elberhardt to the City Desegregation Committee
  • The branch opposed Metro Government
  • The Branch called for Negroes to be hired by the County Government to sell license decals.
  • The Branch pressed Beulah Brothers to hire Negroes.
  • The Branch pressed the Chattanooga School Board to make public its policy on school desegregation plan.
  • The Branch pressed to have "White Only" signs removed.
  • The Branch opposed the Tennessee State Garnishee Laws.
  • The Branch challenged discriminating practices at Chattanooga Gas, Olan Mills, Electric Power Board and City Water Company.
  • The Branch sent written protest to the Better Housing Commission concerning the Urban Renewal Plan.
  • The Branch pressed the City to pass an equal opportunity ordinance.
  • The Branch sought to desegregate Vine Orphanage and Friendship Haven (Old Ladies Home).
  • The Branch issued a proclamation to challenge White children being bussed pass Booker T. Washington High School and expressed concerns with the crowded conditions at Riverside & Howard High School. The Branch stated that taxpayers' money is being spent to fight school desegregation.
  • The Branch filed a complaint with the Department of Health, Education and Welfare charging that the Bonny Oaks School is operating as a segregated school.
  • Local TV stations agreed to run NAACP Public Service Announcements
  • The Branch urged the City Commission and County Council to pass a Fair Housing Ordinance.
  • The Branch called for the City Commission to fill the vacancy on the City Commission with a Negro.
  • The Branch sought for representation for Negro citizen on the Tax Equalization Board.
  • The Branch sought for representation on the County Election Commission.
  • The Branch sought and got Negro Children admitted to the Children Home (Vine Street Orphanage).
These are only a brief summary of some of the many activities the Branch was involved in during the core years of the civil right movement.
The Sixties - 1964
February 6, 1964
Chattanooga Times: NAACP Pickets Chapel Program at Howard Honoring Witt
Sign-carrying representatives of the NAACP picketed in front of Howard School Wednesday morning during a chapel program honoring Raymond B. Witt Jr., retiring member of the city school board.
One picket identified as Leamon Pierce carried a sign reading, "Witt, our kids deserve equal opportunity."
March 17, 1964
Branch Call Meeting Minutes:
Mr. James Mapp President; Mrs. M. P. Tucker, Acting Secretary
On Metro Government, Mr. C. B. Robinson explains some points of Metro, which would put the Negro at a disadvantage. The executive committee took no action.
The executive committee voted to send a letter to Mr. Ramsey concerning license sale and also to have the letter published in the paper as a protest to there being no Negroes hired in the license decal sales office.
March 22, 1964
Branch Special Call Meeting Minutes:
Mr. James Mapp, President; Mrs. Viola Mapp, Acting Secretary After an oral report from Mr. Leamon Pierce the executive committee voted to send a letter to Beulah Brothers stating our position on the hiring of Negroes. Mr. Pierce has a lady with experience on cash register that will apply for such a job on this Monday. The committee being charged with sending as many people as possible to apply for jobs at Beulah Brothers.
A discussion about Morrison Café followed. Mrs. Tucker was asked to lead the demonstration there. Mr. C. B. Robinson informs the committee that all the power structure has been on Morrison including the Mayors Committee. Mr. Robinson suggests this committee contact the human rights commission that meets here soon, and tries to get a regional demonstration against Morrison.
May 3, 1964
Chattanooga Times:TV Show Steering Committee
A local group of NAACP members is the steering committee for the 10th anniversary celebration of the U.S. Supreme Court decision on school segregation. A closed-circuit TV program originating in New York and Holloway will be seen at Memorial Auditorium's Community Theatre May 14 from 9 to 1 pm.
May 13, 1964
Chattanooga Free Press: NAACP Man Warms of Future Violence
Alfred Baker Lewis, National Treasurer of the NAACP said last night that if Congress doesn't pass a "reasonable civil rights bill the demonstrations that have occurred in the past will be child's play compared to those to come".
May 24, 1964
Chattanooga Times: Racial Barriers' fall in City Without Fanfare
Chattanooga has avoided the major racial conflicts, which have erupted in many southern cities largely for two reasons:
  1. Whites and Negro leaders have worked quietly but persistently to settle problems in a spirit of good will.
  2. Substantial progress for the Negro has been made here, but without fanfare.
July 7, 1964
Branch Meeting Minutes
Mr. James Mapp, President; Mrs. M. P. Tucker, Secretary
Mr. Mapp suggested we should contact the school board asking information as to the boards' intentions on school desegregation and to make public its policy now that the Bill of Rights has been signed. After a lengthy discussion followed and the board designated a letter be written to the school boards both the City and County asking they make known publicly their policy and opinion on this ruling.
A discussion followed concerning the endorsement of candidates in the coming race for the Senate. The committee voted that we continue past policy of giving the records of all candidates and not make an endorsement.
A committee was appointed to make contact and bring to the attention of Mayor Kelly that there are still "white only" signs in some of the automatic washers.
A discussion followed concerning Beulah Brothers Grocery and the action that had been taken there to secure better jobs for Negroes. It was decided that letters be sent to the churches asking the Negro population not to trade there until we can see results of upgrading of our race in jobs there.
September 8, 1964
Branch Meetings Minutes
Mr. James Mapp, President; Miss. Tommy Brown, Acting Secretary
A discussion followed concerning action being taken to remove "white only" signs in the automatic washers. Mr. C. B. Robinson informs us a formal, written report should be turned into the mayors committee before any proper action can be taken on the matter
Beulah Brothers Grocery was discussed next and due to the upgrade of Negroes there the action agreed on in the previous meeting has not been taken.
A discussion concerning the garnishee laws of our state followed. Mr. Mapp asks Mr. Robinson's reactions to the Association taking a stand against present garnishee laws.
A discussion on voter registration led by Mr. Marvin Cousin followed. Mr. Cousin stressed how we as NAACP members can help in this effort. As citizens we daily come in contact with persons who are not registered and we should do the following: Encourage these people to register; Make available automobiles for transportation; and Serve as telephone committee.
The president states that there is a policy side of the NAACP now and we are going to have to keep a continuous registration drive going and offer our support wherever it is needed.
October 13, 1964
Executive Committee Minutes
Mr. James Mapp, President; Mrs. Viola Mapp, Acting Secretary Report from the committee, which met with the school board by Mr. Mapp & Mrs. Acklin, was received. There will be no action taken on the City School Board until after their regular meeting on October 21. If the school board answer is not in the least bit favorable the executive committee will meet in an emergency session.
Mrs. Cecelia Murphy presented a partial report on the automatic washers concerns. Mrs. Murphy committee was ordered to proceed with a test case in St. Elmo.
November 10, 1964
Executive Committee Minutes
Mr. James Mapp, President; Miss. Tommie Brown, Acting Secretary
President Mapp reports that no further action has been taken by the education committee that visited the school board and that it (the Meeting) caused quite a few hours of extra work to be done in some of our school, namely Riverside. The committee also reported that the accrediting board has paid a recent visit to Riverside.
Mr. Watson enlightened us on some changes in the athletic association, which will benefit our race and may pave the way to complete desegregation of schools in the near future.
Also discussed was the death at Krystal and the burning of the men in the Silverdale Workhouse truck. Mrs. Murphy, Miss Brown and Mr. Watson will interview the men involved.