GREENSBORO, NC ( Associated Press) – Rev. T. Anthony Spearman, a civil rights advocate and former president of the NAACP’s North Carolina branch, who also served as chairman of the Council of NC Churches, was found dead, his attorney said Wednesday.
Spearman, 71, died Tuesday after Greensboro attorney Mark Cummings said he was representing Spearman. He declined to provide additional details about the death and did not say what he was representing them for.
“In the Dr. King mold, he was really a major drummer for justice,” Cummings said. “He saw the good in everyone in every situation, even in his opponents, even in those who criticized him. He always found a way to see the best in him.”
Spearman’s family issued a statement calling him “a man of strong faith who loved his family with every ounce of his existence.” A family member did not respond to a request for additional comment on Wednesday.
Bishop William J. Barber, who preceded Spearman as North Carolina NAACP president and who is now president of the national, non-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 wrongfully accused and a strong soldier for love and justice for all mankind,” Barber said. “The efforts and commitment of this great man should be cherished.”
As The News and Observer reports, Spearman was suspended from the NAACP by the organization’s national leadership about five months ago.
According to The Urban News, Spearman filed a 28-page lawsuit in June against NAACP national president and CEO Derrick Johnson and chairman Leon W. State NAACP President Deborah Dix Maxwell, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Chapter President Corinne Mack and four other officials are also named in the lawsuit, the news outlet said.
According to the story, the trial accused the officers of defamation and a civil conspiracy to remove him from the post of state NAACP president. The story goes that Spearman alleged in the lawsuit that her endorsement of a woman sexually assaulted by a member of the state convention attempted to oust her and made her a target of retaliation.
The Rev. Curtis Gatewood, who was identified as the sexual assault accused in the story, neither confirmed nor denied the allegations in a Facebook post on Tuesday.
He wrote, “I have no other commentary on the specifics of the matter at that time and believe that enough for God has been said, documented, and allowed to ‘see’ even a blind person.” Presented, if viewing is really desired.”
Gatewood said in his Facebook post that while he and Spearman disagreed on issues involving the state NAACP, “I loved Brother.”
“I wanted the news of his passing to be untrue,” Gatewood wrote. “I forgave him.”