The Prince George's County chapter of the NAACP, which several years ago led a legal fight that resulted in a masive reshaping of the county's school system to further desegregation, sponsored a march on Upper Marlboro yesterday to protest things ranging from alleged police brutality to high taxes.
Leaders of the organization predicted that more than 1,000 demonstrators would participate, but only a little more than 100 showed up.
"It's not as many as expected . . . and expecting a thousand people is not a hell of an objective," said a disappointed Sylvester Vaughns, chapter president.
There were traditional protest songs - "We Shall Overcome" and "Let Nobody Turn Me Around" - at the hour-and-a-half rally that was designed to "state our dissatisfaction with the county government," as one speaker put it.
Another speaker declared, "It's time we stopped putting political eggs in one basket . . . We need jobs, and relief from this police brutality."
There has long controversy over.
There has long been controversy over police brutality allegations in Prince George's and the controversy was fueled by two recent fatal shootings of unarmed blacks in Seat Pleasant by white county police officers.
Looking on from an upper landing of the county administration building was Lanny Hester, president of the county chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police, a group which is the NAACP's frequent bitter adversary over brutality allegations.
"We got more people to turn out for [a] public hearing on the policemen's bill of rights," he said. "I think this is a failure . . . If this is an example of what they bring out, then they should be doing something else."
Another indication that the NAACP, once the county's strongest black organization is having problems was County Executive Winfield M. Kelly's response to the march. he was in Annapolis testifying for revisions in the policemen's bill of rights law, and an aide told reporters.
"Kellythnk the accusations of this group are politically excessive . . . so much so that they should be discounted," said the aide, John Lally.
One of the organization's problems, Vaughns acknowledges, is internal dissension that had its roots in a bitter battle for the chapter presidency, which he won in September 1976.
He says a disgruntled faction on the group's executive board has been trying oust him and has written to the national NAACP headquarters requesting his impeachment.
Vaughs' critics accuse him of mismanagement and failing to speak for the chapter. But Vaughs says the turmoil is a matter of personalities.
One of Vaughs' chief critics, the Rev. Perry Smith, pastor of the North Brentwood First Baptist Church, says the group's internal arguments should be confused with the political issues the chapter was attempting to highlight yesterday.
Smith, who participated in the march along with several other Vaughns detractors was on the same side of the issues raised at the march as Vaughns. Vaughns said he hoped the march "might help bring us together."
The NAACP chapter's internal disputes apparently have had an effect on its membership. Vaughs told a reporter he "guessed" the organization has between 600 and 1,000 members.
The NAACP's national office in New said the chapter had 192 members last York said the chapter had 192 members last year and only seven have paid their $5 dues so far this year.
Another problem perceived by some observers is the tendency of blacks who live in Prince George's to use their political influence in Washington rather than in their home county.
Another problem is that yesterday's march was seen by local black politicians, such as State Sen. (Tommie) Broadwater Jr. (D) as a threat to their influence. Vaughns, incidentally, is a Republican, while almost all of the county's elected officials are Democrats.
Broadwater told a reported he plans to call all elected an d appointed black officials to a special meeting today to discuss some of the issues raised at yesterday's rally. "And I don't plan to invite any of those marches," he declared.
Vaughns spoke of yesterday's demonstration as "just a beginning. We'll be back."