Pastor wants to lead Nacogdoches NAACP - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Pastor wants to lead Nacogdoches NAACP


Rev. Leonard sweat is not only pastor of St. James Baptist Church in Nacogdoches, but he also mentors school children. On Monday he was busy helping youngsters with their spelling.

When NAACP president John Morrison passed away one week ago, the pastor sensed the concern.

"[There was] a lot of uncertainty as to whether NAACP is going to go now," said community leader Helena Abdullah.

That's because three weeks before Morrison died, he made an admirable announcement. "He wanted to make sure that he had identified someone to lead that organization before his passing," said Head Start administrator Patrick Sanders.

"[Morrison wanted] to pick someone out and train them, but it wasn't in the plans," said Abdullah.  

The seed had been planted. Rev. Sweat was the name heard over and over again as the one to take over from Morrison.

"I share the same beliefs. No matter who you are, you should have the same opportunity as the next person," explained the pastor.

The NAACP has been led by busy pastors before, but the job presents unique challenges. Sensitive legal issues and allegations of wrongdoing require research and most of all time to visit jails, attorneys and courtrooms.  

"With the NAACP, I'm sure there are people that are in place to take that position," said Sweat. The pastor says he can rely on national, state and local advocates to help out in the more sensitive areas.    

Sweat wants the NAACP to take a similar proactive approach toward achieving equality as he did this day in helping school children with their test preparation. He promotes giving everyone a chance and getting along.

"My assurance is that we become unified," said Sweat. Sweat isn't calling himself NAACP president just yet. He wants all his other commitments to first fall into place.

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