Uzziah Harris cites challenges ahead with ongoing racial unrest and pandemic
The Culpeper Branch of the NAACP, which also serves Rappahannock and Madison counties, has elected the Rev. Dr. Uzziah Anthony Harris as its president for the 2021-2022 term. Dr. Harris had previously served as vice president of the organization. He succeeds Sandra Reaves-Yates, who served as president for two terms, beginning in 2017.
A North Carolina native and resident of Culpeper, Dr. Harris is an educator, certified life coach, and ordained minister. He is currently a teacher and coach at Floyd T. Binns Middle School in Culpeper. Dr. Harris holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and education from the College of William & Mary (1999) and earned both a Master of Divinity (2012) and a Doctor of Divinity (2014) from the Virginia Triumphant College and Seminary. He was ordained by the school in 2016.
Dr. Harris has been a participant in the Virginia Commonwealth University Grace E. Harris Minority Political Leadership Institute and the Sorensen Political Leadership Institute at the University of Virginia. He is the author of three books, including Trial by Fire: Deliberation Over the Soul of a Nation.
“I’m grateful to my predecessor, Mrs. Sandra Reaves-Yates, and to all who are committed to the important work of the NAACP,” Dr. Harris stated at his installation in December. “To meet the challenges of the new year, with the ongoing racial unrest and the pandemic, it is clear that, more than 50 years after Dr. Martin Luther King’s death, we must still continue this important work. We must build bridges and create policies that enable us to move forward on racial equity in education, in employment, and throughout our communities.”
In addition to Dr. Harris, officers for the 2021-2022 term include the Rev. Frank D. Lewis, pastor of Antioch Baptist Church in Madison, who is serving as vice president; Cindy Taylor, who is serving her second term as secretary; and Harold Boyd, who is serving his second term as treasurer. Sandra Reaves-Yates and Ren LeVally were elected as at-large members of the board.
Presiding over her final meeting as president in December, Reaves-Yates presented several awards to branch members for leadership and service. NAACP Culpeper Image awards were presented to Gwendolyn Sanford, who chaired the branch’s Education Committee, and the Rev. Sanford Reaves, Jr., a former NAACP Culpeper president who chaired the Legal Redress Committee.
Service awards were presented to Treasurer Harold Boyd; to Rose and Mike Herrity, who helped oversee the Freedom Fund fundraising effort; and to Ren LeVally, an at-large board member and chair of the Public Relations Committee. Marilyn and Ed Dunphy were presented with the Community Service award. Secretary Cindy Taylor was presented with the 2020 President’s Award.
Founded in 1909 in response to the ongoing violence against Black people around the country, the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) is the largest and most pre-eminent civil rights organization in the nation.
The Culpeper Branch of the NAACP meets on the third Thursday evening of the month at 7 p.m., and is currently meeting via Zoom. The branch will host a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on January 18, 2021, at 1 p.m. The event will be live-streamed on the NAACP Culpeper website and Facebook page. For more information on meetings, events, and membership, visit www.naacpculpeper.org