Smith re-elected to NAACP post

Published 11:31 pm Friday, November 28, 2008

The Augusta Branch NAACP held its branch election Monday, Nov. 24, and re-elected its current president and Demopolis native Dr. Charles J. Smith Sr. — affectionately known as “Skeebow” — to a fourth term to lead the branch into the National Centennial Celebration.

He defeated the Rev. James Reid, pastor of Piney Grove Baptist Church, by a vote of 76 votes to 22. More than 100 NAACP members in good standing voted in the highly contested race.

Dr. Smith is married to Susie M. Smith of Demopolis. They have two children, Charles Smith Jr. and Yashica C. Smith, both of Atlanta. They are proud parents of eight grandchildren. He is a trustee at New Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church in Augusta, and his pastor is the Rev. Dr. James A. Hogan Sr.

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He is the son of the late Mattie Smith-Wilson and the late Jim Smith Sr. Dr. Smith is a graduate of U.S. Jones High School.

Under his leadership, the Augusta Branch NAACP has been very visible in supporting the community with voter registration, election protection on all election day voting at Augusta precincts, civil rights violations, school to prison pipeline in education, health seminars, veterans’ affairs and armed forces, ACT-SO four gold medalists sent to nationals in Detroit and Orlando, Fla., and supportive of the Augusta NAACP Youth Council who recently won third place in the Georgia State Conference NAACP Convention membership laydown and Host Branch Youth Award.

“It was wonderful to see so many first-time local voters and young people participating in the electoral process,” Smith said. “It was special because America elected Barack Obama as the first African-American President.”

He led the 2008 Southeast Region Ruby Hurley Award for Outstanding Programmatic Activities; first placelace Branch Award in the NAACP 2008 State Convention in membership laydown; first place Branch Award as the Jondelle Johnson Political Action Award; and the NAACP State Convention Host Branch Award. Recently, Smith represented the Georgia State Conference NAACP at the National Organizational Institute Voter Empowerment Training in Pittsburgh, Pa., to prepare Georgia units and branches for the Nov. 4 general election. At the state level of the NAACP, he serves as the assistant secretary, political action chair and District 10 coordinator for Augusta, Burke, Screven, Columbia, Jenkins and Jefferson counties.

For the Nov. 4 general election, he was rated the Best Political Action in America among all NAACP state chairs for submitting the most detailed and accurate reporting of voting numbers and mobilization of citizens for the election.

During his tenure, Smith has recruited and retained the most members both adult and youth in the branch, raised the most money to support branch initiatives, secured the most advertisers and sponsors for the branch, networked with civic and community leaders at governmental levels, investigated and solved numerous community concerns issues, turned the branch around financially and represented the branch at numerous community, state and national functions. He has served as a delegated to the state, regional and national conventions in Detroit, Mich.; Washington, D.C.; Cincinnati; Charlotte, N.C.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Atlanta and other cities on a regular basis. He serves on the CSRA Classic Football Classic Board of Directors as a charter member.

In 2006, he was honored by the Georgia state president Edward O. Dubose with the President’s Award for his unselfish dedication and support of the Georgia State Conference NAACP. In 2007, Smith was named the local Omega Citizen of the Year by Psi Omega Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Omega Region IV Citizen of the Year, the Bridge Builders Award from Upsilon Gamma Gamma Chapter Omega Psi Phi and the State Citizen of the Year for his work with the NAACP. He was the recipient of the 2008 Shiloh Community Center Martin L. King Jr. Dream Keepers Award.

In 2008, he was honored with the Phi Delta Kappa International Educational Fraternity Service Key for dedication and valued service to the Walden University Phi Delta Kappa Cyberspace Chapter. Additionally in 2008, the Walden University Phi Delta Kappa Cyberspace Chapter presented him with the Outstanding Service Award for serving as the first PDK Cyberspace Chapter President, vice president for programs and chapter advisor from 2002 to 2007. For his outstanding work with the NAACP, he was honored with the inclusion in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in American Education in 2007 and 2008.

He notes that his most outstanding accomplishment was negotiating the removal of the Confederate battle flag from the Augusta Riverwalk in 2004. This decision was supported by the civic community, mayor, county commissioners and tourism industry as a means to bring unity to the community. He has worked with the board of elections and county commission to keep and finance early voting and advance voting satellite sites open at Henry Brigham Center and Warren Road Community Center in Augusta. He filed a 2006 complaint filed with the U.S. Justice Department in Washington. D.C., to force voting rights and election protection for the community. His name is listed along with the Democratic Party with the justice as contacts for any election protection and voting issues in Augusta.

The Augusta Branch NAACP election day report showed activism and visibility at polling precincts throughout 20 of nearly 52 polling sites in Augusta and Richmond County, Ga. He was in charge of all Georgia state conference branches as the state political action chair. Its goal was to provide election protection in communities for voters who may be faced with voter intimidation or being denied access to their fundamental right to vote. Not only did the branch work hard al day on Nov. 4, it covered every advance voting and early voting satellite site and assisted senior citizens, disabled and handicapped voters.