The vision of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is to ensure a society in which all individuals have equal rights without discrimination based on race.
President: Mary Gooden
Vice President: Lee Braggs
Treasurer: Jeanne Noordsy
Secretary: Dona Boyer
Assistant Secretary and Membership Chair: Jennifer Boyer
The year was 1966, and the Voting Rights Act was less than a year old when Glens Falls, New York—“Hometown USA”—became home to a new branch of the NAACP. The groundwork was laid by a few local clergy who felt the area did not offer equal opportunities and treatment to local people of color. Among the charter members of this new branch were Roy and Altemese Thomas, Dean and Erma Nordquist, George and Mary Champion and John Stenson, the branch’s first president.
After John Stenson (now deceased), the Glens Falls Branch was led by Roy Thomas, Vera Sullivan (Wanser) and Sallie Harper. In its earliest years, the organization identified inequalities in hiring, promotion, education and housing. The branch has established voter-registration drives, participated in the activities of local volunteer organizations, and continued to address problems of employment and housing. Community members turn to the Glens Falls Branch with complaints or questions regarding rentals, police, incarceration and neighborhood conditions.
Over its history, the Glens Falls Branch inaugurated many valuable community programs, the oldest of which is a scholarship fund that provides help to local graduating seniors in their pursuit of higher education. The branch has been active in sending speakers to schools and other community organizations on the subject of African-American culture. The annual Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration, initiated and supported by the branch, involves the entire Glens Falls region. More recently, the branch has worked with the Glens Falls Library to establish a popular annual film festival dedicated to the Black experience.
Subsequent presidents of the Branch were Herman Johnson, David Steans, Williams Reese, John Savage, Frances Steans, Kendall Jeeter, Lee Braggs (more than 16 years)and, again, Roy Thomas. The current Branch President is Mary Gooden.
The Branch was re-chartered in 1982 and again in 2008. Even with a local minority community of only one-half of one percent, there still are enough people who really understand the importance of the NAACP, and of the goals and programs of its local branch, to have kept the organization alive for 45 years. That level of local energy and concern will sustain the Glens Falls Branch for at least another 45 years.
History prepared by Lee Braggs and Tony Moats