A group of black professionals and businessmen in Prince George's County is forming a new political organization to fill what it regards as vacuum in leadership for the county's growing black population.
The new organization - called the Prince George's County Black Coalition - has its base in the local chapter of one of the county's oldest black service clubs. Frontiers International.
"We felt we could be the umbrella that black people could rally under because the Frontiers is an older service group with credibility and we have no political ax to grind," said Richard Brown, temporary chairman of the coalition that now claims to have nucleus of about 200 people.
Over the past 15 years, the proportion of the county's population that is black has grown from nearly nothing to about 25 per cent. None of the County's top elected officials is black. There is one black county councilman out of 11, one black state senator out of seven and two black-delegates out of 24.
Recently released statistics show small numbers of blacks in high-level county appointive jobs as well.
"We began this project," Brown said, "because we realized no other group in the county had undertaken responsibility."
He said the about 200 persons have attended several recent organizational meetings and many have volunteered to begin voter registration drives in their areas.
"We are now going to hammer out a platform and then get some of out people in power," Brown said.
"We have never had a political voice in the county, not even during the desegregation era of the 1960s."
Several of the group's members expressed dissatisfaction with the elected blacks now in office in the county. "We are concerned that several of the black officials were put into office by the Democratic organization and still have to pay their dues," said Brown.
Frontiers International which functions like the Rotary Club or Lions's Club, is a service organization that has donated funds to civic programs as well as sponsored clothing drives.
Chartered in 1954 by the late Doswell Brooks, the supervisor of Colored Schools in Prince George's County at that time, the organization has kept its basic membership. It now numbers 25.
Most of the coalition's members, according to Brown, are in their 30s or 40s and most of them are professionals. Brown listed a number of persons who included doctors, teachers, religious leaders as well as some aspiring political candidates.
Some of those who attended the organizational meetings are: the Rev. Robert Wilson, of Riverdale; LeRoy Cowan, the owner of an Amoco service station in Glenarden; Naomi Brown, school psychologist from Largo, and Dr. Don Kiah, principal at Fairmost Heights High School.
Mrs. Brown said: "It (the coalition) is a group that can encompass all social and economic areas in the county. With it, we can create a positive impression on the powers that exist in the county and get things done."
State Sen. Tommie Broadwater Jr., is generally regarded as one of the country's most politically powerful blacks. Broadwater, however, is interwined with the reigning Democratic political orgainzation in Prince George's County that currently holds almost all important elective county posts.
Most political decisions specifically affecting blacks are cleared through Broadwater, who could not be reached forcomment yesterday.
A few small municipalities in the county, such as Seat Pleasant, have black mayors.
Part of the reason Prince George's County is said to be without a black voice in country affairs is because one of the only other organized groups that has represented blacks in the past - the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People - is divided.
The NAACP, Which kicked off the 1973 school desegreation program in the county with a lawsuit against the country Board of Education, has been torn by a leadership squable.
The conflict originated last month after an election of members to the executive council. Right after the election. there was a move by members in the organization to impeach the president of the county chapter Sylvester J. Vaughns.
Members said the Vaughns "abused" his power as president by calling special meetings without notifying the membership and by firing Elois Hamilton, the director of the NAACP Student Suspension Project.
Responding to the charges, Vaughns said. "They are just sore losers." Vaughns said the members of the executive council had been notified before each meeting and that the meetings were held properly.
About the firing of Mrs. Hamilton, Vaughns said she had a "conflict of interest that could not be tolerated by the NAACP." According to Vaughns Mrs. Hamilton and her staff, which was also fired,E had tried to establish a corporation that would operate as a consultant firm to advise on suspensions.
Mrs. Hamilton said she and the staff had put together a corporation, but that it had been done on her own time.
The former head of the suspension project said she plans to file suit against the NAACP because of her firing. She said she did not get a chance to tell her story.