Soundly rebuffed by the Board of Directors of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in her conflict with the association's executive director Benjamin L. Hooks, chairman Margaret Bush Wilson last week endured with outer equanimity public snubs and dressing-downs that brought to her aid many women who attended the annual convention here.
The reactions were scattered and inconclusive, and their tentative nature pointed up the low level of feminist consciousness within the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. But two questions have concerned some women here: Would Wilson have been treated differently had she not been a woman, or if women within the organization had a better developed sense of feminism?
Wilson, the first woman to serve as chairman of the board of the NAACP, began the chain of events that led to her ouster when she suspended Hooks and later was fkly reinstate him. She refused to resign, but the board stripped her of her powers and delegated her responsibilities to Kelly M. er Sr., its vice chairman. The general consensus was that Wilson had erred in deciding unilaterally to suspendrestimated his popularity. But the delegates seemed unprepared for several events that occurred at last week'se opening session of the convention Wilson sat off to the side of the dais, and her presence was not acknowledged either by Hooks Alexander. At one point Hooks took the microphone for some impromptu introductions and missed an opportunity iation.
At one evening session, as Wilson sat nearby, Alexander devoted 10 minutes to reiterating the actiohe wake of the unfortunate allegations" made by Wilson and reaffirming the board's faith in Hooks' leadership.een anybody who was the essence of perception," he said, adding: "I didn't know Ben had so many friends until He called survival of the organization "our first priority," and said: "We can't get it if we fight among our any problems that cannot be solved amicably."
Several women became disturbed. "That speech was not in goodithea of New York City.
"My dander was up," said Francine P. Hutcherson of New York. "She made a mistake, bt have kicked her . . . and on the first night."
Added Elsie Gibbs, "I find men in their position don't undoman in a similar position. She should be treated with some kind of respect."
The next day D.C. school boar Simmons was circulating a petition in support of Wilson. "It's despicable. It's the old boys' network, a public lynching as she ho ability to respond," Simmons said. Wilson said she came to the conference prepared to make a keynote speech,n the program and was not given an opportunity to address the group.
Many NAACP oldtimers were unmoved by tns. Clarence M. Mitchell Jr., who for decades was the NAACP's--and the civil rights movement's--Washington lobbyman who makes a serious political error should not be expected to be treated any different than a man." Said the people most against her on the board were women."
Asked at a press conference if sexism had played a rwith Hooks, Wilson said: "I have been very reluctant to confront that because I don't deal with things on thatnning to be very disturbed that that could be part of the conflict in light of what's been happening at this"The treatment of Wilson never would have happened if there had been a women's movement within the NAACP ," sarbara Bell Clark. ". . . There is a plethora of women's issues, but too many women see themselves as extensiod by our God-given abilities, our strength and leadership . . . We black women have