James Mapp to head the Chattanooga-Hamilton County branch of the NAACP again

James Mapp to head the Chattanooga-Hamilton County branch of the NAACP again

December 31st, 2012 by Yolanda Putman in Local Regional News

Betty Callaway sings "Lift Every Voice and Sing" with the congregation during the 2011 NAACP Jubilee Day celebration held at Pilgrim Rock Baptist Church. This year's recognition of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863, is set for Tuesday.

Photo by Dan Henry /Times Free Press.


* What: Chattanooga-Hamilton County NAACP Jubilee Day celebration

* When: 11 a.m. Tuesday

* Where: Hamlet Chapel CME, at 2510 Cowart St.

James Mapp, who led the local NAACP chapter for 20 years, will serve as NAACP president again in 2013.

"We didn't have anybody, and I didn't want us to be without," said Mapp, who filed the lawsuit that led to the desegregation of Chattanooga city schools.

Valoria Shipman Armstrong, the current president of the Chattanooga-Hamilton County's NAACP, will resign after serving eight years.

She said she plans to remain active in the organization but can't continue to lead it while working full time as human resource manager for Tennessee American Water.

Chapter Vice President Joe Rowe became ill, Mapp said.

Mapp, 85, and other officers will be sworn in at the NAACP's annual Jubilee celebration Tuesday.

NAACP branches across the country host Jubilee Day -- or Emancipation Day -- celebrations on New Year's Day. The events commemorate President Abraham Lincoln signing the Emancipation Proclamation ending slavery on Jan. 1, 1863.

Jerry Redman will be the main speaker for Chattanooga's celebration.

"In the 150 years that have transpired, progress has been made, and that progress should be celebrated. But progress alone is not freedom. Only freedom fully realized is freedom," said Redman, managing senior partner of Second Life of Chattanooga. The organization is focused on ending human sex trafficking in greater Chattanooga and Southeast Tennessee.

"When we're talking about freedom, we're talking about civil rights. We're talking about the right to be fully human," he said.

The Emancipation Proclamation did not end slavery for all slaves, but it was a start from a government perspective, Armstrong said.

Jubilee Day is a time when the history of suffering endured under slavery is remembered and the efforts of people who fought to end slavery are recognized, she said.

The event also will include a presentation that honors the contributions of local U.S. Colored Troops and Buffalo Soldiers.