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West Virginia NAACP Holds Annual Convention

West Virginia NAACP Holds Annual Convention


West Virginia NAACP members want to get more young people involved in the organization.

The goal was among several addressed at the group’s 61st annual convention held at West Virginia State University in Institute over the weekend. About 40 members attended.

“When a lot of our youth graduate from West Virginia (schools), they move to other cities,” James Tolbert, president of the state group, said after the conference.

The NAACP is planning a youth summit for high school and college students that is expected to be held by the end of the year in either Morgantown or Charleston. The summit will focus on voter registration, NAACP history and how to be more productive in communities.

West Virginia has 16 NAACP branches and one active youth council in Beckley.

“The Beckley youth chapter does a lot of community service,” Tolbert said. “Hopefully, we can get other groups to follow.”

Convention participants also talked about improving the achievement gap between White and Black students.

Among Black 10th-graders who took the West Virginia Educational Standards Test last spring, math scores were 20 percent lower than White students, while reading scores were 16 percent lower. Similar disparities also appeared in lower grades.

About 95 percent of West Virginia residents are White, 3.2 percent are Black and the rest are Hispanic, Asian or other races, according to the 2000 Census.

Meanwhile, Tolbert and Herbert Henderson, chairman of the state group’s political action committee, signed a resolution to ask Gov. Joe Manchin to establish a state office on minority health in the Department of Health and Human Resources.

The resolution also supports establishing police review boards that include civilians and urging state and local education officials to increase the number of minority educators and administrators.

Associated Press

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