The NAACP staged a sit-in Tuesday, Jan. 3, in the Mobile, Alabama, office of Jeff Sessions, Attorney General nominee and U.S. Senator. After a few hours, the group of six was arrested, including national NAACP President Cornell W. Brooks, and now faces charges of criminal trespass in the second degree. The stated goal of the sit-in was to force the senator to be withdrawn as the nominee for Attorney General, the confirmation hearings have been scheduled for January 10-11. There is absolutely no expectation that this action will in any way delay those proceedings.
These days, the NAACP, outside of the North Carolina-based Moral Mondays protest, is having trouble moving its membership base. That’s why the picture of several committed activists, but not several hundred, looked a little sad. During this time period, can the NAACP — or any other group, for that matter — shift focus and mobilize its membership base for mass civil disobedience or mobilize its funding base to create alternative institutions that are Black controlled and financed to provide a model for others to follow? There clearly is some value in calling attention to the fact that Jeff Sessions is a racist and hoping that a media backlash will scare his fellow senators into not confirming him. But there seemingly would be greater value in developing alternative institutions like new schools or private arbitration courts, controlled by Black people, that lead to new ways of confronting old enemies.