Local News

NAACP Wants Apology from Denlinger

Posted April 12, 1997

— The election of Ann Denlinger as Durham School Superintendent earlier this year reflected a school board polarized along racial lines. Now the local NAACP says it wants an apology from her for remarks she made on a February news broadcast.

The Rev. Curtis Gatewood, president of the Durham chapter of the NAACP, wrote in a letter to Denlinger that he seeks her apology for saying, "I'm not black, will never be black, don't want to be black anymore than they want to be white."

Gatewood said the statement was "insulting" to African-Americans.

Denlinger says she doesn't plan to apologize because the comments were taken out of context, and that they actually reflect her commitment to diversity.

Denlinger's remarks came one day after her election on a 4-3 vote that split along racial lines.

She has said she would be willing to meet with Gatewood, but hasn't invited him for a meeting. Gatewood has said he doesn't plan to ask for one.

Allegations have surfaced that Denlinger was insensitive to blacks in Wilson, where she formerly worked. Those contentions have been countered, however, by black leaders in that city.

The other finalist for the Durham schools position had been James Wilson, of Dayton, Ohio, schools, who is black. The NAACP had endorsed him, saying he was more qualified.

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