About the Garland Unit

Brief History

The Garland Unit of the NAACP was chartered on July 6, 1984 with 127 members. Ms. Goldie Locke served as founding president and Mr. Johnnie O. Steadham was first vice president, along with 18 Executive Committee members. Two of the original 18 board members are still active today: Mr. Chester Johnson currently serves as chair of Legal Redress and Ms. Carol Montgomery is active on two committees. Mr. Richard Dockery, NAACP regional director, chaired the standing-room-only organizational meeting where two key issues were addressed: 1). the firing of African American police officer Sam Allen; 2). substandard schools in the minority area of Garland. Mr. Sam Allen was later rehired as a Garland fireman. To address schools, the Garland Unit became a plaintiff to the original school desegregation court order filed by the United States Justice Department and the Texas Education Agency. This judgment is still in effect today.

Legend of Presidents

  • Ms. Goldie Locke – Founding President 1984 – 1985
  • Rev. C. L. Bryant – 2nd Administration 1986 – 1987
  • Mr. Marvin Burrell – 3rd Administration 1988 – 1989
  • Ms. Leala Green – 4th Administration 1990 – 1996
  • Mr. Billy (BJ) Williams – 5th Administration 1997 – Feb 2012
  • Mr. Ricky McNeal – Interim President – March 2012 – December 2012
  • Mr. Ricky McNeal – Current Administration, Beginning January 2013


Highlights and Accomplishments of the Garland Unit

  • Has had core support of the African American faith-based community since 1984.
  • Became a plaintiff (mid-1980’s) in the federal court order against the Garland ISD.
  • Filed and successfully won a discrimination case in 1988 through the Office of Federal Contractors Compliance and Audits (OFCCA) on behalf of 27 African American employees of E-Systems.
  • Organized the Garland MLK parade and march in 1989. This two-day celebration includes a youth extravaganza and is now the largest suburban MLK event in Texas.
  • Held first Freedom Fund banquet in 1991. Mr. Lenell Jeter, who was wrongfully convicted in a later overturned criminal case, served as a program participant.
  • Awarded scholarships to over 100 African American seniors in the Garland ISD during annual Freedom Fund programs.
  • Since the early 1990s, the Unit has hosted local ACT-SO (Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics) competitions. Annually sponsors Garland’s ACT-SO Gold Medal winners to travel and compete at the NAACP national ACT-SO competitions.
  • Began a “Stay-in-School, Back-to-School” program entitled EXCEL Awards for African American middle school students in 1994. It was later expanded to recognize both middle and elementary school students; and, it was renamed the Goldie Locke EXCEL Awards in honor of its creator, Ms. Goldie Locke.
  • Chartered the Garland NAACP Youth Council in 1996. It has become one of the elite Youth Councils in the Association receiving state, regional and national awards.
  • Hosted the first Black History Month Winter Ball in 2001- a black tie event held annually to recognize citizens who are making a positive impact in the community.
  • Received the distinguish NAACP Thalheimer National Award in 2001 for exemplary service in the areas of civil rights, education, housing, health and social change.
  • In August 2003, hosted the first Garland NAACP health fair, which is now one of the largest and most successful annually held health fairs in the tri-city region.
  • Co-sponsored a 2010-2012 math enrichment program for African American teens entitled “Project Edge” in partnership with the Garland ISD.
  • Hosted the 2012 NAACP Texas State Conference Quarterly Meeting.
  • Hosted a 2013 NAACP Certification Training session.
  • Hosted the 2013 NAACP Texas State Convention.
  • Garland NAACP hosts outstanding political forums and legal redress workshops.
  • Traditionally host educational training sessions and voter registration drives.
  • The Garland Unit has a significant number of members instrumental in the local political arena:
    o Honorable Ronald Jones, Sr. – 1st African American Mayor of Garland, serving three (3) consecutive terms
    o Honorable James Culp – 1st African American on the Garland City Council
    o Honorable Annie Dickson –1st African American female on Garland City Council (She served two consecutive terms, and she was the first person of color to run for the Office of Mayor in Garland – falling short by only 47 votes!)
    o Honorable Linda Griffin – 1st African American on Garland ISD board of trustees (She’s served as board president and board secretary. Today, she still holds the same school board trustee elected seat with the Garland ISD.)
    o Honorable Billy Williams – 1st African American Garland City Council – District 4
  • The Garland Unit has members who actively serve on the City of Garland Police and Fire Department Hiring Review Boards, and on several other City of Garland boards and commissions.