Southern Christian Leadership Conference Suspended

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A local civil rights chapter has just been suspended by the national organization. The Southern Christian Leadership Conference accuses its Tallahassee chapter of mismanaging thousands of dollars.

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference was founded by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., but national leaders say some of the Florida chapters are in violation of national rules, and possibly guilty of misappropriating funds.

"Well, it's been suspended, that's the bottom line, the chapter has been suspended."

Reverend Joseph Wright is the man given the tough task of investigating what went wrong at the Tallahassee Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

National leaders announced the blow at a meeting in this church a few days ago. Two of the allegations are holding hidden or secret elections for its officers, and mishandling funds.

Anita Davis, a local member, said, "It did upset me months back when we understood there was an election, I said I wasn't notified. How are you gonna have an election, and I'm a dues paying member, and I wasn't even notified."

Part of the inquiry goes back to the 50th anniversary of the bus boycotts, some members estimate back in may they raised $75,000 worth of funds in memory of the boycotts.

Now members are asking where the money is.

Anita Davis said, "Haven't seen the financial report. I asked about it ‘cause I was out of town part of that week, but I'm understanding that quite a bit of money was raised. What happened to it, I don't know."

Rev. Joseph Wright added, "Well, wherever the money is being held, it should be frozen. No transactions are to be taking place until such time we are able to determine the accountability of those funds."

Local leaders referred us to the national leaders for the conference. We should point out that Tallahassee is not the only chapter under investigation.

Reverend Wright said up to seven Florida chapters are in danger of losing their charters as well. Will they try to rejoin the Southern Christian Leadership Conference?

The short answer is yes. Members say they are looking forward to this investigation to clean up the problems. They believe the suspension will be lifted by next year.