February 20, 2008
SENT VIA FACSIMILE TO 523-4043 & VIA E-MAIL & U.S. MAIL
Mr. Herb Hilliard
Chairperson of Nominating Commmittee
The Lorraine Civil Rights Museum Foundation, Inc.
450 Mulberry Street
Memphis, TN 38103
RE: The Selection of New Members to the Board of Directors of the Lorraine Civil Rights Museum Foundation, Inc.
Dear Mr. Hilliard:
Please be advised that this letter confirms in writing our telephone conversation on today, February 20, 2008, regarding the above referenced matter.
More specifically, you advised that approximately twenty (20) minutes before the start of our telephone conversation this afternoon, the Nominating Committee had just completed its final list of names to be submitted to the Foundation's Board of Directors for its final approval on February 21, 2008.
You offered to share with me the final list of nominees, notwithstanding the fact that designated Representatives from the Lorraine Civil Rights Museum Community Oversight Committee (hereinafter referred to as the Oversight Committee) and designated Representatives from the Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators (hereinafter referred to as the Black Caucus) did not jointly participate, as promised and as agreed to by Beverly Robertson and Gregory Duckett, in the selection of the final list of names. Therefore, I declined to receive your final list of names because the Foundation's Representatives failed to honor their agreement to allow us to participate in the selection process.
You further advised, much to my disbelief, that there was never
an intention on your part or on the part of Ms.Robertson, Mr.
Duckett and/or anyone else connected with the Foundation's Board
of Directors to involve us in the joint participation process of
reaching a consensus as to the final list of nominees to submit
to the Foundation's Board of Directors at its February 21st
I advised that I had a very clear understanding, as well as the
Representatives from the Oversight Committee and Representatives
from the Black Caucus, that Ms. Robertson and Mr. Duckett had
agreed to our being jointly involved in the selection process,
with the goal of reaching a consensus on 6 nominees. From you
and Ms. Robertson, I now understand that the number has been
expanded to 7 nominees because a current board member has
In an effort to involve us in the selection process, we met with
Ms. Robertson and Mr. Duckett on January 25, 2008 at the
University of Memphis. Subsequently, a follow-up meeting had
been scheduled and planned by Ms. Robertson and Mr.
Duckett for February 9, 2008. It was canceled due to a
scheduling conflict on the part of Mr. Duckett. A second
follow-up meeting was arranged by Ms. Robertson with the
understanding that Mr. Duckett would be present; however, only
Ms. Robertson appeared. She explained that the meeting could
not go forward because the Nominating Committee was having some
difficulty with the narrowed list of 8 or 9 names. Please keep
in mind that at both times, Representatives from the Oversight
Committee and the Black Caucus were ready, willing and able to
come together to reach a consensus. We had no reason to believe
that the meetings were canceled on purpose or that they were
not sincere in their efforts to involve us.
Finally, the Representatives from the Oversight Committee and
Representatives from the Black Caucus were willing to work
together with Representatives from the Foundation to resolve
the matter to the satisfaction of all parties involved. We are
very disappointed that we were unable to reach a solution
to create a Board of Directors more representative of the
community in general and the civil rights movement in
LAURICE E. SMITH, Chairperson
Cc: Beverly Robertson, Dr. Benjamin Hooks, Gregory Duckett,
William Lucy, Foundation Board Members, Oversight Committee
Members, Black Caucus Member
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