Honoring the Life of Floyd B. McKissick Sr.
WHEREAS, the NAACP Durham, North Carolina Branch seeks to nationally recognize the life of one of its former members, as an architect and hero of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s; and
WHEREAS, Floyd Bixler McKissick, Sr. was born in Asheville, North Carolina March 9th, 1922; and
WHEREAS, after graduating from Morehouse College, McKissick was the first African- American to study at the University of North Carolina Law School; and
WHEREAS, as a student, he became an active member of the NAACP; and
WHEREAS, McKissick defended this nation's freedom by joining the United States Army during World War II, reaching the rank of sergeant, and receiving a purple heart while fighting and sustaining injury in the battlefields of Europe; and
WHEREAS, after returning to the United States from active duty, McKissick participated in the first freedom rides of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) in 1947; and
WHEREAS, he founded the first youth council of the NAACP in Durham in 1958, serving as the city's youth chairman of the NAACP; and
WHEREAS, he organized and led (within the NAACP) a youth movement for achieving public integration by means of nonviolent direct action, organizing the Durham Youth Crusaders and later the Youth Commandos; and
WHEREAS, this movement culminated with the successful two year picketing of Durham's Royal Ice Cream Parlor, the first long sustained youth demonstration of the civil rights movement, which led to student demonstrations throughout North Carolina (including the historic student sit-ins in Greensboro in 1960) and to nonviolent protests throughout the nation; and
WHEREAS, McKissick worked as a close associate of A. Phillip Randolph and the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., collaborating as a key organizer of the March on Washington of 1963; and
WHEREAS, he founded a law practice in Durham, North Carolina through which he successfully defended African-American students who sought admittance to all-White public schools, served as legal counsel for North Carolina's NAACP, served as an ad hoc lawyer for CORE, and defended arrested civil rights demonstrators, handling more than 5,000 cases simultaneously at one point; and
WHEREAS, as an advocate of the Black Power movement, McKissick served as the national chairman of CORE from 1963-1966, and as the national director of the organization from 1966-1968; and
WHEREAS, he founded Soul City, as a project to develop a model integrated predominantly African-American self-sufficient industrial town in rural North Carolina, in 1969; and
WHEREAS, he accepted Governor James Martin's appointment to serve as a North Carolina district court judge in 1990; and
WHEREAS, this world lost the life of Floyd Bixler McKissick, Sr. on April 28, 1991.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP formally acknowledges, celebrates, and honors the life and contributions of Floyd Bixler McKissick, Sr.