Those operations behind her, Lander is trying again. But an organizational meeting last week suggests it won’t be any easier a task the second time around.
Though Lander placed flyers advertising the meeting all over town, sent notices to local churches, advertised the meeting in these pages and interviewed on WKDZ Radio, only a handful — all black women — arrived at the meeting, held at the Genesis Express Activity Center. At 7 p.m., after waiting 30 minutes in hopes attendance might approve, only three people sat with Lander and guest speaker Charles Lown, treasurer of Paducah’s NAACP branch, to discuss the future of a Cadiz branch.
Fifty members are required to form a local branch.
Not only was there little turnout from Cadiz’s black community, but also notably absent was any sort of public official.
“[Cadiz] likes to complain about things, but when it comes to being active — they’re reluctant,” Lander said as she waited in vain for more people to arrive.
Lown, who has been a member of NAACP since the mid 1980s and is also a member of the state board, assured her it is not a unique phenomenon. Moreover, he pointed out, only about 14 of Paducah’s 100 members attend meetings regularly.
Lander was also frustrated by the concerns of those who said they couldn’t afford the $30 annual membership fee.
Of the money raised from membership fees, dues from 25 members are needed to pay the state branch a $250 membership fee and a membership fee of $500 to the national office.
The remaining dues help fund operations of the local branch, such as funding scholarships for local students. Lander said he her own daughter graduated from Western Kentucky University with the help of similar scholarships, and would like to return the favor. Similarly, it was the NAACP’s focus on education — their efforts in “keeping kids off the street and in school” — that attracted Lown, an electrical engineer, to the organization.
Formed in 1909 in response to race riots and lynchings, the group featured interracial founders. The group continues to welcome members of all races or creeds, though their emphasis is on protecting the civil rights of minorities.
“Obviously color doesn’t matter — because I’m obviously a minority member of a minority group,” Lown, who is white, told the group last week.
For the rest of this story, please see this week's edition of The Cadiz Record.