Hamilton community leaders pushing to reform local NAACP chapter

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

There is a concerted effort to re-establish a Hamilton unit of the NAACP, and it’s starting today with the Black History Re-Engagement Luncheon at the Booker T. Washington Community Center.

Helping to lead the charge is Pastor Archie Johnson, a former Hamilton City Council member, who said the community is stronger together. There are many Black groups and organizations that do good work, but right now, they’re operating as if they’re silos, he said.

“There are so many pocket groups, and everybody’s trying to do the best they can for the community,” Johnson said. “We’re trying to unite those groups together so that we can all be working for the common good of the community.”

An initial focus for Johnson is the MLK March held every January in Hamilton, and while that event, which is followed by a church service, has seen growth in recent years, it can be better, he said.

“We are stronger together than we are apart,” he said. “If you want to move a community forward, then we got to come together because our ancestors did it, our grandparents did it, our parents did it.”

And when groups can unite or collaborate, resources can then stretch further.

The Black History Re-engagement is to bring the community together, and while a primary objective is to unite the Black community, it’s also designed to unite the community at large.

Celeste Didlick-Davis, president of the Middletown NAACP unit, this effort in Hamilton is “very important.”

“There’s nothing like knowing the issues from a local perspective, and we gain more strength through collaboration,” said Didlick-Davis, who added she’s been working with Johnson in this effort to re-establish a Hamilton NAACP unite. “Unity does not mean uniformity, but it does mean that among those items that we share a common interest in, we ought to work together.”

This effort in Hamilton, just as it is with Middletown, Oxford, and all corners of the county, state and country, is also reminding “our young people and, in many instances others, the rich, diverse, and important history, and the role that education has played, in trying to create not just equality but equity.”

And the luncheon will celebrate part of that history when they honor Katherine Rumph, who, after retiring from the Mosler Safe Company in 1983, was elected to Hamilton City Council, and was the first African-American councilmember elected at-large. In 1990, she was Hamilton’s first African-American vice mayor. She went on to serve six consecutive terms, and was the first woman to do that.

She moved out of the city in 1996, and was elected mayor of the village of New Miami in 2001.

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