Law professor named director of NAACP's Washington bureau McDougall set 'to defend gains of civil rights' laws

December 20, 1996|By James Bock | James Bock,SUN STAFF

Harold A. McDougall, a Catholic University law professor and author of a book about black community activism in Baltimore, has been named director of the NAACP's Washington bureau.

NAACP President Kweisi Mfume, who appointed McDougall, said was "confident that he will be a tremendous help to our legislative efforts."

The Washington bureau is the NAACP's lobbying office. Previous directors include the late Clarence M. Mitchell Jr., a Baltimorean who was known as the "101st senator" for his influence over civil rights legislation.

The position has been vacant since May when Wade Henderson left the NAACP to become executive director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights.

McDougall, 51, was born in Mount Vernon, N.Y., and is a graduate of Harvard University and Yale Law School. He was director of Catholic University's Law and Public Policy Program from 1985 until the spring. He has a leave of absence from the university to work for the NAACP.

"We're poised and ready to defend the gains of the civil rights legislation that Clarence Mitchell was the architect of," McDougall said. He said he hoped the "signature of my tenure will be building capacity" at the state and local levels of the NAACP to address political issues.

McDougall said his introduction to the civil rights movement came in 1965 when he was a "summer soldier" for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in Greene County, Ala. A Silver Spring resident, he is a former executive vice president of the Montgomery County NAACP.

In his 1993 book, "Black Baltimore: A New Theory of Community," McDougall explored how grass-roots groups in neighborhoods such as Harlem Park, Park Heights, Sandtown-Winchester and Upton effected social change.

"The civil rights movement, a boon to the upwardly mobile black middle class, failed to advance the black community as a whole," he wrote.

McDougall, whose appointment is effective immediately, is married and has five children.

Pub Date: 12/20/96

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