A century ago, James Weldon Johnson became the first Black person to head the NAACP

A century ago, James Weldon Johnson became the first Black person to head the NAACP

These NAACP leaders met at a 1916 conference. Library of Congress Anthony Siracusa, University of Mississippi

In this moment of national racial reckoning, many Americans are taking time to learn about chapters in U.S. history left out of their school texbooks. The early years of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, a civil rights group that initially coalesced around a commitment to end the brutal practice of lynching in the United States, is worth remembering now.

An interracial group of women and men founded the group that would soon become known as the NAACP in 1909. A coalition of white journalists, lawyers and progressive reformers led the effort. It would take another 11 years until, in 1920, James Weldon Johnson became the first Black person to formally serve as its top official.

As I explain in my forthcoming book “Nonviolence Before King: The Politics of Being and the Black Freedom Struggle,” interracial organizing was extremely rare in the early 20th century. But where it did take place – like in many of the summer of 2020’s Black Lives Matter protests – it was because some white Americans united with Black Americans over their shared concern about wanton violence directed against Black people.

A medallion monument of a Black man and a white woman

W.E.B. Du Bois and Mary White Ovington were among the NAACP’s founders. David/Flickr, CC BY-SA

Lynching in America

Between 1877 and 1945, more than 4,400 Black Americans were lynched. Many of these lynchings were public events that attracted thousands of spectators in a carnival-like atmosphere.

A violent attack by white people on the Black community in Abraham Lincoln’s longtime hometown inspired the NAACP’s founding. In August 1908, two African American men in Springfield, Illinois were accused without clear evidence of murder and assault and taken into custody.

When a white mob that had organized to lynch the two men, Joe James and George Richardson, failed to locate them, it lynched two other Black men instead: Scott Burton and William Donnegan. White mobs raged for days afterwards, burning black homes and businesses to the ground.

Only after Illinois Gov. Charles Deneen called in thousands of the state’s National Guardsmen was the white mob violence quelled.

‘The call’ for racial justice

Two of the NAACP’s most prominent African American founders were W.E.B. Du Bois, a sociologist, historian, activist and author, and the journalist and activist Ida B. Wells, who had been publicly challenging lynching since the early 1890s.

They were joined by a number of white people, including New York Post publisher Oswald Garrison Villard and social worker Florence Kelley in issuing “the call” for racial justice on the centenary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth: Feb. 12, 1909.

Portrait of a young women in the late 1800s

Ida B. Wells was among the NAACP’s founders. Library of Congress

The group organized a precursor to the NAACP known as the National Negro Committee in 1909, which built on earlier efforts known as the Niagara Movement. This loose affiliation of Black and white people called on “all believers in democracy to join in a national conference for the discussion of present evils, the voicing of protests, and the renewal of the struggle for civil and political liberty.” Du Bois chaired a May 1910 conference that led to the NAACP’s official formation.

As the historian Patricia Sullivan writes the NAACP emerged as a “militant” group focused on ensuring equal protection of under the law for Black Americans.

The NAACP’s founders, in their words, envisioned a moral struggle for the “brain and soul of America.” They saw lynching as the preeminent threat not only to Black life in America but to democracy itself, and they began to organize chapters across the nation to wage legal challenges to violence and segregation.

The group also focused its early efforts on challenging portrayals of Black men as violent brutes, starting its own publication in 1910, The Crisis. Du Bois was tapped to edit the publication, and Wells was excluded from this early work despite her expertise and prominence as a writer – an exclusion she later blamed on Du Bois.

Although the group’s early work was an interracial effort, according to historian Patricia Sullivan, all members of its initial executive committee were white.

An old NAACP poster calls attention to 3,436 people lynched between 1889 and 1922.

The NAACP produced this anti-lynching poster in 1922. National Museum of African American History and Culture

James Weldon Johnson

James Weldon Johnson joined the organization as a field secretary in 1916 and quickly expanded the NAACP’s work into the U.S. South. Johnson was already an accomplished figure, having served as U.S. consul to Venezuela and Nicaragua under the Taft and Roosevelt administrations.

Johnson also wrote a novel called “The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man” – a powerful literary work about a Black man born with skin light enough to pass for white. And he wrote, with his brother J. Rosamond Johnson, the song “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” which to this day serves as the unofficial Black national anthem.

James Weldon Johnson became the first Black American to head the NAACP in 1920. Library of Congress

James Weldon Johnson became the first Black American to head the NAACP in 1920. Library of Congress

As field secretary, Johnson oversaw circulation of The Crisis throughout the South. The NAACP’s membership grew from 8,765 in 1916 to 90,000 in 1920 as the number of its local chapters exploded from 70 to 395. Johnson also organized more than 10,000 marchers in the NAACP’s Silent Protest Parade of 1917 – the first major street protest staged against lynching in the U.S.
James Weldon Johnson became the first Black American to head the NAACP in 1920.
Library of Congress

These clear successes led the board to name Johnson to be the first person – and the first Black American – to serve as the NAACP’s executive secretary in November 1920, cementing Black control over the organization. He united the hundreds of newly organized local branches in national legal challenges to white violence and anti-Black discrimination, and made the NAACP the most influential organization in the fight for Black equality before World War II.

Johnson united local chapters in advocating for the introduction of an anti-lynching bill in Congress in 1921. Despite efforts in 2020 to finally accomplish this goal, the U.S. still lacks a law on the books outlawing racist lynching.

Johnson did, however, preside over the NAACP when the group notched its first of many major Supreme Court wins. In 1927, the court ruled in Nixon v. Herndon that a Texas law barring Black people from participating in Democratic Party primaries violated the constitution.

Johnson’s tenure at the NAACP’s helm ended in 1930, but his ability to unite local chapters in national litigation laid much of the groundwork for numerous Supreme Court wins in the years ahead, including the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision which marked the beginning of the end for legalized segregation in the United States.

In later years, Johnson became the first Black professor to teach at New York University.

Alicia Keyes performing ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing.’

The work continues

Among Johnson’s contributions to the NAACP was hiring Walter White, an African American leader who succeeded Johnson as executive secretary. White presided over the organization between 1930 and 1955, a period that included many successful legal actions.

The struggle launched by Du Bois, Wells and Johnson and their white allies a century ago continues today. The killing of Black Americans that led to the NAACP’s founding remains a harrowing continuity from the Jim Crow era.In 2020, 155 years after the Civil War ended, the people of Mississippi voted to remove the Confederate battle flag from their state flag, confirming an act Mississippi lawmakers undertook a few months earlier. Utah and Nebraska stripped archaic slavery provisions from their state constitutions. Alabama nixed language mandating school segregation from its state constitution.

These changes were the result of millions of Americans joining together to take action against racism, a sign that an interracial movement for justice in America has never been stronger.The Conversation

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Black religious leaders are up front and central in US protests – as they have been for the last 200 years

Black religious leaders are up front and central in US protests – as they have been for the last 200 years

The late John Lewis links arms with religious leaders, including Dr Martin Luther King, in 1965 Selma to Montgomery march. William Lovelace/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Lawrence Burnley, University of Dayton

When the Rev. Al Sharpton implored white America to “get your knee off our necks” at the memorial of George Floyd, his words were carried by news outlets across the globe. Meanwhile in the U.S., the Rev. William J. Barber II has been an ever-present voice in the protests, prompting some to place him as the successor to past civil rights greats.

That people of the cloth are at the forefront of the current protests over police brutality should not be a surprise.

From the earliest times of the United States’ history, religious leaders have led the struggle for liberation and racial justice for Black Americans. As an ordained minister and a historian, I see it as a common thread running through the history of the United States, from Black resistance in the earliest periods of slavery in the antebellum South, through the civil rights movement of the 1960s and up to the Black Lives Matter movement today.

As Patrisse Cullors, one of the founders of Black Lives Matters, says: “The fight to save your life is a spiritual fight.”

Sojourner Truth was driven to anti-slavery activism by spiritual visions. GHI Vintage/Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Spiritual calling

For many Black religious leaders in the United States, civil rights and social justice are central to their spiritual calling. Informed by their respective faith traditions, it places religion within the Black American experience while also being informed by African culture and the traumatic experience of the Transatlantic trade of African people.

We see this in Malcolm X’s 1964 exhortation that Black Americans should form bonds with African nations and “migrate to Africa culturally, philosophically and spiritually.” Malcolm X’s desire to internationalize the struggle in the U.S. after his 1964 pilgrimage to Mecca also speaks to the role he saw Islam having in the civil rights movement.

“America needs to understand Islam, because this is the one religion that erases from its society the race problem,” he wrote in a letter during his visit to Saudi Arabia. The struggle of Black Americans informed Malcolm X’s reading of the Quran.

Similarly, the interaction between religious text and real-world struggle informed earlier Black civil rights and anti-slavery leaders. Slave revolt leader Nat Turner, for example, saw rebellion as the work of God, and drew upon biblical texts to inspire his actions.

As the historian and Turner biographer Patrick Breen noted in an article for Smithsonian Magazine, “Turner readily placed his revolt in a biblical context, comparing himself at some times to the Old Testament prophets, at another point to Jesus Christ.” In his “Confessions,” dictated to a white lawyer after his 1831 arrest, Turner quoted the Gospel of Luke and alluded to numerous other passages from the Bible.

Turner had visions he interpreted as signs from God encouraging him to revolt.

Visions

Such prophetic visions were not uncommon to early anti-slavery leaders – Sojourner Truth and Jarena Lee were both spurred to action after God revealed himself to them. Lee’s anti-slavery preaching is also an early example of the important role that black religious female leaders would have in the civil rights struggle.

In arguing for her right to spread God’s message, Lee asked: “If the man may preach, because the Saviour died for him, why not the woman? Seeing he died for her also. Is he not a whole Saviour, instead of a half one?”

These early anti-slavery activists rejected the “otherworld” theology taught to enslaved Africans by their white captors, which sought to deflect attention away from their condition in “this world” with promises of a better afterlife.

Instead, they affirmed God’s intention for freedom and liberation in both this world and the next, identifying strongly with biblical stories of freedom, such as the exodus of the Hebrew community from Egyptian enslavement and Jesus’ proclamation to “set the oppressed free.”

Incorporating religion into the Black anti-slavery movement sowed the seeds for faith being central to the struggle for racial justice to come. As the church historian James Washington observed, the “very disorientation of their slavery and the persistent impact of systemic racism and other forms of oppression provided the opportunity – indeed the necessity – of a new religious synthesis.”

At heart, a preacher

The synthesis continued into the 20th century, with religious civil rights leaders who clearly felt compelled to make the struggle for justice central part of the role of a spiritual leader.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preaching in Chicago. Robert Abbott Sengstacke/Getty Images

“In the quiet recesses of my heart, I am fundamentally a clergyman, a Baptist preacher,” the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote in a 1965 article for Ebony Magazine.

Racial justice remains integral to Black Christian leadership in the 21st century. In an interview earlier this year, Rev. Barber said: “There is not some separation between Jesus and justice; to be Christian is to be concerned with what’s going on in the world.”

Recognizing the rich legacy of Black religious leadership in the struggle of racial justice in the United States in no way diminishes the role of historic and contemporary secular leadership. From W.E.B. DuBois to A. Philip Randolph, who helped organize 1963’s March on Washington, and up to the current day the civil rights movement has also benefited from those who would classify themselves as freethinkers or atheists.

But given the history of religion in the Black protest movement, it should be no surprise that the killing of George Floyd has unleashed an outpouring of activism from Black religious leaders – backed by supporters from different faith traditions.

[Get the best of The Conversation, every weekend. Sign up for our weekly newsletter.]The Conversation

Lawrence Burnley, Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion, University of Dayton

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The Preaching Politician

The Preaching Politician

John Lewis, center right, with fellow protesters on Bloody Sunday, March 7, 1965, in “John Lewis: Good Trouble,” a Magnolia Pictures release. © Spider Martin. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

Before he was a Democratic congressman and before he was a civil rights activist, Rep. John Lewis preached to the chickens on his family’s farm as a young boy.

It’s a story staffers of Lewis can repeat by heart because they’ve heard it so many times.

“They would bow their heads; they would shake their heads,” he recounts in footage from an appearance at a Houston church in the new documentary “John Lewis: Good Trouble.”

“They never quite said ‘Amen,’ but they tended to listen to me much better than some of my colleagues on the other side listen to me today in the Congress.”

The documentary, presented through a partnership including Magnolia Pictures and CNN Films, traces the journey of Lewis, now 80, from the fields of Alabama to the halls of Congress. The film portrays how Lewis was shaped by his faith and guided by religious leaders such as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Rev. James Lawson, two advocates for nonviolent civil rights action.

“Faith is an integral part of Mr. Lewis’ life but also part of his activism,” said Dawn Porter, director of the documentary, who filmed the congressman for more than a year starting shortly before the 2018 election.

Though he is a politician rather than a preacher per se, Lewis considers politics to be his calling, she said.

“He started preaching to chickens and now in many ways even though he’s a layperson he preaches to us,” she said of the man with a seminary degree as well as a bachelor’s degree in religion and philosophy. “That is part of the reason why people find it so motivating and so comforting when he speaks.”

The 96-minute documentary, which is to be released on demand and in select theaters on Friday (July 3), includes what has become Lewis’ mantra in its title.

“My philosophy is very simple,” he says in the film, which is also expected to air on CNN in late September. “When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, say something. Do something. Get in trouble. Good trouble. Necessary trouble.”

The documentary’s producers have created a “Good Trouble Sunday” promotion for the movie, encouraging houses of worship to host a digital screening starting this Sunday, for which they can keep a portion of ticket sales.

Faith leaders on a mid-June conference call promoting the documentary expressed appreciation for Lewis, who was diagnosed with cancer late last year, and his long service as a role model.

The Rev. Jamal Harrison Bryant, senior pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church outside Atlanta, recalled seeking advice from Lewis in the 1990s, when as the NAACP’s youth director Bryant received pushback for suggesting the civil rights organization reach out to the hip-hop generation.

“He said to me: ‘Jamal, change is never politically correct,’” Bryant recalled. “‘If everybody is in agreement, it’s not that radical.”

John Lewis in “John Lewis: Good Trouble,” a Magnolia Pictures release. © Ben Arnon. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

In the documentary, Lewis, a member of Atlanta’s historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, recalled his last meal in downtown Washington just before embarking on a trip as a Freedom Rider seeking equal access to accommodations for Black Southerners.

“Growing up in rural Alabama, I never had Chinese food before,” he recalled. “But someone that evening said, ‘You should eat well because this might be like the Last Supper.’”

American civil rights activist John Lewis on April 16, 1964. Photo by Marion S. Trikosko/LOC/Creative Commons

Porter said those comments showed how Lewis and other young civil rights activists did not take their work lightly as they prepared for rides on segregated buses or sit-ins at segregated lunch counters.

“You’ll see in the movie that Rev. Jim Lawson, who was coaching and guiding the students, had them rehearse,” she said of Lewis and his fellow activists. “And I do think he decided that life under a segregated system was not the life that he wanted to live.”

Archival footage — some of which the congressman says he’d never seen before — reviews landmark, as well as lesser-known, moments in Lewis’ history. He was the youngest speaker at the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. On his first attempt on “Bloody Sunday” to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965, he was beaten by Alabama state troopers and thought he would die as he protested for voting rights.

The film’s crew followed him as he supported fellow Democrats in the recent election and traveled with a bipartisan group of politicians and faith leaders on the annual pilgrimage to Alabama with the Faith and Politics Institute.

“Congressman Lewis has conveyed to all of us over the course of his lifetime that (the) fundamental right to vote is a foundational right,” said Joan Mooney, CEO of the institute, on the recent conference call. “So more than the transactional act of voting, Congressman Lewis talks about its sacredness, and voter participation in a democracy is the active expression of the values of all human beings.”

John Lewis is arrested on Oct. 7, 1964, in Selma, Alabama, during a Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee-organized “Freedom Day,” an attempt to get residents registered to vote. © Danny Lyon/Magnum Photos. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

The Preaching Politician

The Preaching Politician

John Lewis, center right, with fellow protesters on Bloody Sunday, March 7, 1965, in “John Lewis: Good Trouble,” a Magnolia Pictures release. © Spider Martin. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

Before he was a Democratic congressman and before he was a civil rights activist, Rep. John Lewis preached to the chickens on his family’s farm as a young boy.

It’s a story staffers of Lewis can repeat by heart because they’ve heard it so many times.

“They would bow their heads; they would shake their heads,” he recounts in footage from an appearance at a Houston church in the new documentary “John Lewis: Good Trouble.”

“They never quite said ‘Amen,’ but they tended to listen to me much better than some of my colleagues on the other side listen to me today in the Congress.”

The documentary, presented through a partnership including Magnolia Pictures and CNN Films, traces the journey of Lewis, now 80, from the fields of Alabama to the halls of Congress. The film portrays how Lewis was shaped by his faith and guided by religious leaders such as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Rev. James Lawson, two advocates for nonviolent civil rights action.

“Faith is an integral part of Mr. Lewis’ life but also part of his activism,” said Dawn Porter, director of the documentary, who filmed the congressman for more than a year starting shortly before the 2018 election.

Though he is a politician rather than a preacher per se, Lewis considers politics to be his calling, she said.

“He started preaching to chickens and now in many ways even though he’s a layperson he preaches to us,” she said of the man with a seminary degree as well as a bachelor’s degree in religion and philosophy. “That is part of the reason why people find it so motivating and so comforting when he speaks.”

The 96-minute documentary, which is to be released on demand and in select theaters on Friday (July 3), includes what has become Lewis’ mantra in its title.

“My philosophy is very simple,” he says in the film, which is also expected to air on CNN in late September. “When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, say something. Do something. Get in trouble. Good trouble. Necessary trouble.”

The documentary’s producers have created a “Good Trouble Sunday” promotion for the movie, encouraging houses of worship to host a digital screening starting this Sunday, for which they can keep a portion of ticket sales.

Faith leaders on a mid-June conference call promoting the documentary expressed appreciation for Lewis, who was diagnosed with cancer late last year, and his long service as a role model.

The Rev. Jamal Harrison Bryant, senior pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church outside Atlanta, recalled seeking advice from Lewis in the 1990s, when as the NAACP’s youth director Bryant received pushback for suggesting the civil rights organization reach out to the hip-hop generation.

“He said to me: ‘Jamal, change is never politically correct,’” Bryant recalled. “‘If everybody is in agreement, it’s not that radical.”

John Lewis in “John Lewis: Good Trouble,” a Magnolia Pictures release. © Ben Arnon. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

In the documentary, Lewis, a member of Atlanta’s historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, recalled his last meal in downtown Washington just before embarking on a trip as a Freedom Rider seeking equal access to accommodations for Black Southerners.

“Growing up in rural Alabama, I never had Chinese food before,” he recalled. “But someone that evening said, ‘You should eat well because this might be like the Last Supper.’”

American civil rights activist John Lewis on April 16, 1964. Photo by Marion S. Trikosko/LOC/Creative Commons

Porter said those comments showed how Lewis and other young civil rights activists did not take their work lightly as they prepared for rides on segregated buses or sit-ins at segregated lunch counters.

“You’ll see in the movie that Rev. Jim Lawson, who was coaching and guiding the students, had them rehearse,” she said of Lewis and his fellow activists. “And I do think he decided that life under a segregated system was not the life that he wanted to live.”

Archival footage — some of which the congressman says he’d never seen before — reviews landmark, as well as lesser-known, moments in Lewis’ history. He was the youngest speaker at the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. On his first attempt on “Bloody Sunday” to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965, he was beaten by Alabama state troopers and thought he would die as he protested for voting rights.

The film’s crew followed him as he supported fellow Democrats in the recent election and traveled with a bipartisan group of politicians and faith leaders on the annual pilgrimage to Alabama with the Faith and Politics Institute.

“Congressman Lewis has conveyed to all of us over the course of his lifetime that (the) fundamental right to vote is a foundational right,” said Joan Mooney, CEO of the institute, on the recent conference call. “So more than the transactional act of voting, Congressman Lewis talks about its sacredness, and voter participation in a democracy is the active expression of the values of all human beings.”

John Lewis is arrested on Oct. 7, 1964, in Selma, Alabama, during a Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee-organized “Freedom Day,” an attempt to get residents registered to vote. © Danny Lyon/Magnum Photos. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

The Urban Voter’s Survival Guide

The Urban Voter’s Survival Guide

RELATED: Your Vote Matters


Vote suppression, vote manipulation, disenfranchisement, faulty voting machines — these and others are serious problems that threaten to undermine the electoral process in the United States.

While some legislators are attempting to crack down on alleged voter fraud by proposing stringent ID requirements, other lawmakers and grassroots citizen organizations are focusing their attention on the much greater problem of election fraud (intentional efforts to suppress or manipulate the vote) and irregularities (potentially hackable or malfunctioning electronic voting machines), as well as related problems like poorly trained poll workers and insufficient numbers of machines, paper ballots and provisional ballots at polling places.

One of the problems “clean vote” advocates have is convincing the public that the voting process can indeed be dirty. After all, there’s not a lot of distance between talk about election fraud and the latest conspiracy theory. Plus, we want to believe that ours is a pristine process — that every vote counts and that every vote is counted. The sad truth is that many votes go uncounted, and some votes are counted twice or more by electronic machines.

Not surprisingly, the lion’s share of these problems usually exists in poor and urban areas, the glaring exception being Florida’s ballot fiasco back in 2000. And one of the results of these problems is that we feel powerless to correct them, no matter where we live. How can we have faith in electronic machines when the precincts that buy them admit they don’t trust them to accurately count our votes? How can we fight back when we’re turned away at the polls because our photo ID doesn’t include the middle initial that appears on our voter registration, even though the rest of the information on the two documents is consistent? We can quickly get overwhelmed by both the big picture and the exact details.

The reality — and here’s the good news — is that we can each take steps to help ensure that our vote is counted. There’s no guarantee that it will be, but the more attention we pay to some of those details before and on Election Day, the greater the chances that our vote will be registered.

Here’s a checklist of action steps you can take now:

• Double-check now to make sure you are registered to vote. If you discover a problem that you cannot resolve with your local elections board (usually listed in the government pages of the local telephone directory), contact Election Protection at 1-866-OUR-VOTE (687-8683) for help.

• Find out now where your polling place is. It may have changed since the last time you voted.

• Find out exactly what forms of ID your state requires, and make sure everything is in order before Election Day. If you can, go to the appropriate website (usually the county’s board of elections or your state’s secretary of state), research the voter ID law and print the page to take with you on Election Day. Poll workers too often don’t know the law.

• Obtain a sample ballot. Some counties and precincts post sample ballots online. Call your local elections board to have one sent to you if you can’t get it online. As recent elections have shown, ballots can be confusing, and you don’t want to be caught off guard at the polls. Bear in mind, though, that not all jurisdictions provide sample ballots.

Here’s what you can do on Election Day (or earlier, if your state allows early voting):

• Request a paper ballot if one is available. Electronic machines are much too unreliable. Be sure you are not given a provisional ballot; these are used when a person’s voting status is in question, and they often go uncounted. If an electronic machine is your only option, check to see if you can obtain a paper copy of your vote. Some machines allow you to verify your vote on paper before you submit it electronically.

• Be vigilant. If anything strikes you as questionable, bring it to the attention of a poll worker — which may not do any good if the poll workers are part of the problem. (One example: In several New York City precincts in 2006, minority voters were asked for photo ID, which was not a requirement, while no such request was made of white voters.)

• Report any problems, even if they appear to be minor, to your local board of elections as soon as possible; if you have a cell phone, call from the polling place. You can also report it to Election Protection at the number given above and to any of the citizen organizations listed at the end of this article. If it’s serious enough and you haven’t received a satisfactory response from the election board, don’t hesitate to call your local media to notify them of the problem.