Omission of black hopeful a 'mistake'

October 06, 1994|By Howard Libit | Howard Libit,Sun Staff Writer

A local NAACP official said yesterday that an "inadvertent mistake" led to the county's only black Republican candidate being left off a list of black candidates in the group's newsletter.

Kenneth Jennings, the Howard County chapter's first vice president and editor of its publication, The Commitment, said the omission of Evelyn L. Tanner's name from its August newsletter was unintentional.

"It's unfortunate that this happened, but I was up at 1:30 a.m. putting together the newsletter," Mr. Jennings said. "I'm amazed it was the only typo."

Ms. Tanner is challenging three-term incumbent C. Vernon Gray for the Howard County Council's 2nd District seat in the vTC November general election.

At a news conference this week, she charged that the county's chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People had "blatantly, and I believe knowingly, acted to suppress my candidacy."

In the newsletter, a list of black candidates vying for office in the county did not include Ms. Tanner. It did list the other five black candidates -- including Mr. Gray -- who are all Democrats.

At the time of publication, Ms. Tanner and Mr. Gray were facing opponents in their respective primary elections. Their contest in the November election is the county's first between two black candidates.

Ms. Tanner said she complained to the Rev. Bowyer G. Freeman, the chapter's president, soon after the newsletter was distributed to the group's membership of about 1,000.

Mr. Freeman apologized and said it was an oversight, she said, but did not do anything to correct the problem. Ms. Tanner said she waited until now to say anything, because she hoped that the chapter would make amends.

She said she now believes that the group has tacitly endorsed her opponent through its inaction.

Mr. Freeman is doing missionary work in Africa and is unavailable for comment. Mr. Jennings, who had been out of town until yesterday, dismissed Ms. Tanner's allegations as "political paranoia."

Ms. Tanner said she will wait to see what the group does before she comments further.

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