The Rev. Thomas Lee Cardwell Jr. (center) was the guest speaker at the annual NAACP Freedom Fund Banquet, held Thursday at The Prizery. Welcoming Cardwell are Halifax County NAACP President the Rev. Kevin Chandler (left) and Halifax County NAACP Vice-President Thomas A. Majors.

Since 1968, members of the Halifax-South Boston Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People have stood for truth and justice by advocating on the local, state and federal level.

“We advocate for equal rights for all mankind,” said the Rev. Kevin Chandler, outgoing president of the NAACP. “We promote equality in education, equality in economics and voting rights for all Americans.”

In 2013, the organization signed a resolution “to celebrate freedom and to advocate for justice and freedom for all” under President the Rev. Frank E. Coleman Jr. at their annual celebration of Jubilee Day, and Chandler similar sentiments at their 2016 Freedom Banquet.

“Many people think the NAACP is only for African Americans, but it is for all mankind,” Chandler said at the banquet.

“If there is a threat to justice anywhere, there’s a threat to justice everywhere.”

Most recently, Chandler said local members plan to participate in Advocacy Day at the Capitol on Jan. 18 to give voice to legislative issues important to the NAACP including protection of voting rights.

He also said the organization has been pushing for “All Lives Matter awareness.”

Other issues Chandler said have taken center stage over the years include their stance on the mistreatment of Linwood Lambert in the legal case Smalls Vs. Binner, voting rights of those who have been previously incarcerated, the number of African American-owned businesses in the commonwealth and the number of African Americans being expelled in comparison to the number of white individuals.

He said African Americans are being expelled at an “alarming rate” and are not being offered an alternative education.

Annual events of the NAACP include their Freedom Fund Banquet, queen pageant and Jubilee Day, which commemorates the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln signing the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863.

Chandler, who has served the NAACP since 2008, said it has been rewarding as well as challenging, and in December he passed reins to the organization’s first female president, Cassandrus Ragsdale.

“The branch is going to benefit from her involvement in the community and with general membership. For as long as I’ve known her, she has been very active in the community, especially in advocating rights of those incarcerated,” said Chandler.

Newly elected officers for 2017-18, who were installed at the Dec. 13 meeting, include Ragsdale, Detra Carr, vice president, Thomas Major, second vice president, Betty Majors, secretary, Henry Medley, treasurer, and Sandra Brown, chaplain.

The local chapter of the NAACP meets monthly on the second Tuesday at Banister Hill Baptist Church at 7 p.m., and Chandler said new members are always welcome.

Membership fee is $30 a year, are also several levels of life membership are available.

Follow the “N.A.A.C.P Halifax County” on Facebook for more information and find more information on the national organization at

Ashley Hodge reports for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at

Ashley Hodge is a staff writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at