Jackson may end NAACP bid Some associates fuel uncertainty

April 03, 1993|By New York Times News Service

WASHINGTON -- The Rev. Jesse L. Jackson has been discussing with associates whether he should withdraw from the race for executive director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, several associates said yesterday.

Mr. Jackson is one of four contenders for the post as the head of the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. But associates said he was uncertain whether he should remain in the running for a post he might not get. Some NAACP members have objected to his candidacy, saying his highly personalized style would hurt the organization; others say he would bring new luster to the NAACP.

Dennis Rivera, the New York City union leader who is chairman of the National Rainbow Coalition, which Mr. Jackson founded, called on him on yesterday to withdraw his candidacy.

Mr. Rivera, who is president of the 117,000-member Local 1199 of the Drug, Hospital and Health Care Workers Union, said Mr. Jackson would be more effective remaining as head of the coalition, whose members, mostly black, Hispanic and white liberals, favor causes such as public housing and statehood for the District of Columbia.

"I have been arguing with him for two weeks that he would better serve our cause if he stayed as head of the coalition," Mr. Rivera said. "Many candidates are in office because of the assistance of Reverend Jackson. If he took the NAACP position, he would have to remove himself from electoral politics."

The other candidates to succeed the Rev. Benjamin L. Hooks as executive director of the NAACP are Earl F. Shinhoster, a regional NAACP official in Atlanta; Jewell Jackson McCabe, founder of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women; and the Rev. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., an official with the United Church of Christ.

Mr. Jackson did not respond to telephone queries. Friends said he had been discouraged to find himself the center of a debate within the NAACP over whether he would be a suitable candidate.

What is left generally unsaid is that he may also be wary of remaining in the contest until the end only to lose, a potential indignity to someone who has twice sought the Democratic presidential nomination.

Mr. Rivera said he did not know whether Mr. Jackson would heed his plea to remain with the Rainbow Coalition. In addition to his post with the Rainbow Coalition, Mr. Jackson is the elected nonvoting representative to the Senate from the District of Columbia, a largely symbolic post.

The NAACP's 64-member board is scheduled to meet Friday in Atlanta to choose an executive director.

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