Hendricks steps down from top post in Hopkins County NAACP

By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News Editor

East Caney Missionary Baptist Church pastor M. LaVelle Hendricks this week announced that he will be stepping down as president of the Hopkins County chapter of the NAACP.

His resignation came following special meetings last week related to an assault case in which a Caucasian was arrested for assaulting an African American.

�He�s just tired and worn out from the controversy. When it arises, you�re a target,� said Carolyn Thomas, appointed last month as vice president of the NAACP. �He felt he had to keep his focus on his first ministry and his flock at his church. He�s gotten calls from blacks and whites, good and bad.�

�It has become increasingly clear to me that many (black and whites) in Sulphur Springs/Hopkins County are not pleased with my leadership in this organization. Though I�m not one who welcomes nor shuns criticism, it is apparent that change is in order,� Hendricks read from a perpared statement during the regular monthly NAACP meeting.

He also noted that many African Americans indicated they found his “lack of aggressiveness,” “non violent approach for change,” and “weak confrontational style” unsatisfactory as the leader of the NAACP. He also noted phone calls from whites who “labeled me as being a racist and a bigot,” and called him “a divider” and an “egotistical liar.” One “person” even went so far as to say “this place would be better off if you were dead,” according to Hendricks, all contributing factors in his decision to “step aside and resign as president of this organization.”

�My prayer remains that this city/county, one that I love dearly and passionately, will unite around our leaders and challenge them to do what�s best for us as a whole. Though many � black and whites � within the Christian faith challenged me biblically and spoke of being �very upset and angry,� I received your statements out of love and not malice or ill intent and will not allow our chief enemy to separate us. From a humble heart I write, surely my Christian brothers and sisters, blacks and whites, by now, are well versed of my track record in this community.�

Hendricks challenged those “who were compelled to bring massive adversarial voices from outside to disrupt our community not to do so” and urges those who step up to “continue to follow the principles of decency. Be ever mindful that a house divided can not stand.”

He also noted that although he was stepping down from his leadership role with the NAACP, he plans “to continue to work to better our community.”

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