Anne Arundel NAACP members move to oust president Rickey Nelson Jones

A petition to unseat Anne Arundel County NAACP President Rickey Nelson Jones over accusations of homophobia, sexism and other issues is being forwarded to the organization’s national leadership for consideration within the next few days.

Since Jones assumed office around the start of the year, members have taken issue with statements he’s made on same-sex relationships and the role of women in society — both in his written works and interactions with members, according to petition organizer Marguerite Morris, speaking on behalf of the petition signatories in a news release.


Members say his religious teachings have impacted his interactions with female members within the organization as well as the way he discusses issues affecting members of the LGBTQ+ community. Some who signed the petition say he regularly behaves disrespectfully and condescendingly towards women in and out of meetings.

These interaction had led some not to pursue leadership positions within the organization and, in some cases, relinquish the NAACP roles. The organization’s secretary, who resigned in April, cited concerns over leadership in a resignation letter.


Others in the organization have attempted to bring the issues to Jones’ attention, but say he hasn’t taken the complaints seriously.

In 2005, Jones published a book that refers to same-sex relationships as “an abomination to God, leading the participants to hell.” The book also advises that women should not pastor or teach if a man is fit to do the job. The book was revised this year, according to a representative from the publisher’s office, and maintains these lines.

“This is highly offensive,” said Morris, who has been a local NAACP member since around 2016. “It’s harmful.”

While Morris said she’s been gathering signatures for about three weeks, Jones said he first learned of the petition this week.

Though his religious views do oppose same-sex relationships, he said that doesn’t have a bearing on how he views members of the LGBTQ+ community outside of a religious context.

“I have relatives who entered the homosexual community, and I love them from head-to-toe,” he said in an email, adding that, as a traditional Baptist pastor, “I do not agree with the homosexual lifestyle. That does not equate to hatred against homosexuals. Such would be hatred against my own relatives, an absurd idea.”

On the topic of sexism, Jones responded that his 37-year marriage to his wife and leadership of Living Exactly Like Jesus Baptist Church in Columbia, Maryland, which he said has a large number of women congregants invalidates the accusation.

“Unfortunately, this is a false accusation that is often lodged against masculine, independent thinking, men by some women who cannot ‘get their way’ with him,” Jones said. “I cannot stop people from spreading falsehoods due to their anger and dislike of someone they cannot control.”


NAACP protocol states a chapter must collect at least 20 signatures to file a complaint requesting expulsion, suspension or removal of officers or members. It will then be reviewed by the national office. This petition has 23 signatures as of Friday morning.

Morris estimates the organization has around 300 members, but only about 40 members who attend meetings regularly.

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While Keanuú Smith-Brown became a dues-paying member in the past few weeks to be able to sign onto the petition, he’s been involved with Anne Arundel County NAACP events over the years and often attends meetings of the Caucus of African American Leaders of Anne Arundel County, an entity with significant membership crossover with the county NAACP chapter.

“It’s something I had to really think about and talk through because I never want to see another Black leader have to be removed,” Smith-Brown said. “We need people who are going to be visionary and also not allow for their personal beliefs to drip too far into the platforms of everyday work on behalf of others.”

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