Rev. T. Anthony Spearman is the newly elected president of the North Carolina State Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Staff writer Emma Boggess asked Spearman about his involvement with the N.C. NAACP and his goals for the coming years.
The Daily Tar Heel: How did you first get involved with the civil rights movement and the NAACP?
Rev. T. Anthony Spearman: I have to go back over 50 years to 1963 when my father purchased our first home. We were confronted with next-door neighbors who were a white Italian family, and on the other side of us was a Portuguese family. The Italian family was not pleased with the fact that we were living next door to them and raised quite a ruckus. It was at that time that my father took out memberships for me and my two sisters with the NAACP and told us that we would need to keep them up because, as he saw it, we would be fighting for justice for the rest of our lives. And so that was my first interaction with the NAACP.
DTH: So what made you decide to run for president of the NAACP in North Carolina?
TAS: Over the past 12 years I have been working very closely with (former N.C. NAACP President Rev. William Barber). The movement, as I saw it progressing, was something that I thought was very timely and needed to happen right now. When Dr. Barber decided that he had to go on to a higher calling to embrace the Poor People’s Campaign, as the third vice president I thought that in order to continue the spirit of the movement and carry forth some of his ideology and theology — I thought that I would like to go ahead and succeed him in order to continue this movement as it gained momentum.