There has been a changing of the guard for the Bradley County Branch of the NAACP.Cynthia Humes, a longtime educator in the community, is stepping up from her vice presidency to fill the formidable …
There has been a changing of the guard for the Bradley County Branch of the NAACP.
Cynthia Humes, a longtime educator in the community, is stepping up from her vice presidency to fill the formidable shoes of outgoing NAACP President Hiawatha Brown.
Brown stepped down recently to campaign for a seat on Cleveland's City Council.
Humes emphasized in a recent interview that she will be following many of the philosophies of the former president, and hopefully adding some ideas of her own.
Under Humes' guidance, with assistance from Brown, the local branch of the NAACP plans to be strongly involved in the election environment through the remainder of the summer.
Humes and other NAACP members are planning to get involved with a get-out-the-vote effort, getting as many local residents registered to vote as possible.
They feel this is something they can help with in the local election process. Several other projects are on the horizon for the local branch, and education will be a focus of the new president, a longtime teacher of youngsters and adults alike.
Humes is a Bradley County native, the daughter of the former Elsia and Willie Scotton. Her father was also an educator, and her mother a homemaker.
She attended College Hill School, then graduated from Cleveland High in 1967.
Humes obtained an associate's degree at Cleveland State Community College, her bachelor's at Lee University, and her master's from Trevecca Nazarene.
She began her second-grade teaching career at Hopewell Elementary in 1970, completing 37 years before retiring in 2007.
For years, Humes has also been teaching at the Adult Education Center on Strawberry Lane. This is why she has a passion to provide educational opportunities to grown-ups in the Cleveland/Bradley County, adults who may have missed out earlier for various reasons.
Among these educational opportunities is the right to vote for the candidate of one's choice, and getting registered with the Bradley County Election Commission.
Cynthia was married to Don Humes in 1980, after they were introduced by family and friends. Her husband is also active in the black community, and a member of the NAACP branch and Bradley County's 100 Black Men Inc. chapter. He is on several boards and organizations in Cleveland and Bradley County.
Humes, with Brown's assistance, is already making plans for the local NAACP branch over the coming months, including the voter registration effort.
The branch is also partnering with Bradley County's 100 Black Men Inc., supporting the local chapter's highly-successful scholarship and mentoring program. Many local students from the community have been able to attend college through this program.
The local NAACP partnered with "The 100" last week in sponsoring a political forum at Cleveland High School, which is a part of the branch's promotion of voter awareness. Brown was not only a sponsor, but a participating candidate in the forum.
Humes is anticipating a number of other projects during her presidency. She admits the outgoing president has given her considerable insight, but, she adds, "I have my own vision for the branch."
Among those goals is a plan to recruit new branch members, as well as focus on corporate targets, more civic engagement, environmental issues, health issues, economic opportunities, and diversity.
"We'd like to participate in health fairs, student mentoring, and bring in some interesting speakers," Humes said.
She added that (in addition to 100 BMBC), the branch also partners with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, The Aldersgate Garden Club, and several other city and county organizations.
Humes' education goals include the strengthening of academics for students, and increasing the awareness of parents as to academic opportunities — for both themselves and their children. "We want parents to be proactive," she said.
Other Bradley County NAACP officers include First Vice President Ralph White, Second Vice President Glenda Queener, Secretary Norma Hill, and Membership Chair Phyllis Hickey.
The local branch of the NAACP meets at 6:30 p.m., the first Tuesday of every month, at Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church.
Humes and Brown emphasized everyone is welcome.
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