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Branch History
On February 12, 1909, on the 100th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, 60 prominent black and white citizens issued ”The Call” for a national conference in New York City to renew ”the struggle for civil rights and political liberty”. A distinguish list of Black leaders added their voice to the movement.

Principal among these was W.E.B. DuBois, who was to serve as the sage of black professionals to form the Niagara Movement, which drew up an agenda for aggressive action not unlike the group he now joined. Also involved were Ida Wells-Barnett, a young journalist whose eloquent editorials focused national attention on the epidemic of lynchings. Participants at the conference agreed to work toward the abolition of forced segregation, promotion of equal education and civil rights under the protection of law and the end to race violence.

In 1911, the organization was incorporated into The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People – The NAACP.

In 1939, the late Professor Frank D. Brown of Pennytown organized the Mar-Saline Branch of the NAACP. During Professor Brown’s reign, employment for blacks opened at the International Shoe Factory and a different outlook for Marshall, MO. World War II and the integration of troops brought hopes for a brighter future as more benefits were realized. Homes were purchased and banks such as Wood & Huston opened accounts for Blacks.

Under the presidency of Josephine R. Lawrence, blacks protested to city government the lack of city services such as sewers, having dangerous and unsanitary open drainage ditches, and unmaintained streets. Streets are now maintained and paved. The community on the east side of Marshall took on another appearance…one of a wholesome and prideful community.

Following this victory, the Mar-Saline Branch and Casey Strong of KMMO radio station spearheaded protests against Alpha Café. The victory marked the first time Blacks ate in the front of the restaurant.

Tadar Wazir led the Branch during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Economic gains materialized for Blacks in Marshall. Wazir encountered many obstacles, which he overcame with his powerful and dynamic presence, his belief in his Creator, and leadership of the local Branch. City government gained more respect for the Branch during Wazir’s tenure.

Following Tadar Wazir were Virgie Simmerman, the Anne Smith, a chartered member and a life-long freedom fighter. Mrs. Smith won battles at the Marshall Rehabilitation Center, City government, and in the area of education both at Missouri Valley College and the Marshall Public Schools.

In 1998, current president Clyde L. Williams accepted The Call as president of the Mar-Saline Branch. Fifty-nine years since the chartering of the Branch and eighty-nine years since the Association was founded, Williams and his Executive Committee discovered that although there has been improvements, “There Is Still Work to Be Done.”

Work to be done in education, economic and political empowerment, social justice, and civil rights. “The reasons and purpose for which the Association was founded in 1909, the reason and purpose for Professor Brown chartering a Branch in Saline County, the reasons and purpose for which Lawrence, Wazir, Simmerman, Smith and their executive committees still exists today”, says Williams. […abolition of forced segregation, promotion of equal education and civil rights under the protection of law and the end to race violence.]

President Williams and the Executive Committee engaged and won the battle with City government in the improvement of city services and utilities on the east side…registered more voters in the history of Saline County/Marshall, MO…influenced the selection and election of Blacks to the City Council…established tutoring programs…influential in the curriculum and recruitment of faculty for the Marshall Public Schools...influential in eliminating racism in the Schools…expansion of its service area.

In the fall of 2004, the Mar-Saline Youth Council was charted. The 46 members of the Youth Council elected Sherri Wright as their president. Additionally, Phesa Wright and Laynetta Baylark were elected as Youth Advisors.

The History and Struggle continues…

Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Letter from Birmingham Jail

Injustice anywhere is a threat to
justice everywhere.

Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Letter from Birmingham Jail


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This page was created on April 16, 2005
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