The Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the civil rights organization founded in part by the late Martin Luther King Jr., has suspended its chairman and treasurer just weeks before installing the assassinated leader’s daughter as president.
The SCLC said in a news release issued Tuesday that Board Chairman Raleigh Trammell and Treasurer Spiver Gordon would be kept from their duties pending an “internal investigation into alleged claims of improprieties.” The news came less than a month before Bernice King – elected as the group’s first female president in the fall – officially assumes her leadership role.
In October, the SCLC announced that it was looking into “possible mismanagement of organizational funds” and a personnel matter involving an employee in the SCLC's Dayton chapter office, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
Meanwhile, the SCLC has named the Rev. Sylvia Tucker as acting board chairman and Randall Gaines as acting treasurer.
“We are at a historical moment in history as we prepare to ratify the election of Rev. Dr. Bernice A. King as the organization's first female president,” Tucker said. “It is incumbent upon us to protect the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the SCLC as we work to ensure that necessary steps are taken [to] guarantee the public trust in the organization.”
The SCLC will make public its findings, Tucker said.
“During my tenure as chairperson, I will work with the board of directors to instill a firm commitment to transparency and accountability," Tucker said.