Rev. T. Anthony Spearman, a civil rights advocate and former chairman of the NAACP’s North Carolina branch, who was also chairman of the NC Church Council, was found dead, officials said Wednesday.
The Guilford County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release that a 71-year-old Spearman was found at home on Tuesday. This release showed that a family member or friend found him, but did not provide any further details.
Death was confirmed earlier in the day by Mark Cummings, a Greensboro lawyer who said he represented Spearman. Cummings refused to provide additional details about death and did not state why he represented Spearman.
“In Dr. King’s pattern, he was really a drum major for justice,” Cummings said. “He saw good for everyone in every situation, even his critics and those who criticized him. He always found a way to see the best of them. “
Cummings said he would ask state authorities to assist local law enforcement agencies in the investigation.
Spearman’s family issued a statement calling him “a man of strong belief who loved his family in every ounce of his existence.” The family did not respond to requests for additional comments on Wednesday.
Spearman was elected President of the North Carolina NAACP in 2017 and served one four-year term.
Bishop William J. Barber, who stood before Spearman as chairman of the NAACP in North Carolina and is now chairman of the Repairers of the Breach, a national non-profit organization, said in a statement: .. “
“We have lost scholars, preachers, advocates of election rights, advocates of prison reform, and stubborn soldiers who have been unjustly accused of the love and justice of all mankind,” Barber said. rice field. “The efforts and dedication of this great man should be cherished.”
Spearman was suspended from the NAACP by the organization’s national leadership about five months ago. News & Observer reported: NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson said he repeatedly refused to deliver NC NAACP’s assets (including minutes and financial records) after Spearman lost his bid for re-election in 2021.
In June, Spearman filed a proceeding against several NAACP officials in the state and across the country, accusing him of defamation and conspiracy to dismiss him from the president. WRAL reported. He claimed to have banished him and retaliated for supporting a woman who said she had been sexually harassed by members of the state council.
The accused man, Rev. Curtis Gatewood, Denied in the past He told The Associated Press in a statement in 2019 that he “did not deny the feelings of my whistleblower,” but all sorts of sexual assault or intentional sexual harassment.
In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Gatewood added: Really desired. “
In another post on Tuesday, Gatewood said he and Spearman disagreed on issues related to the state’s NAACP, but “I loved my brother.”
“I hoped the news of his death wasn’t true,” Gatewood wrote. “I forgave him.”