For hundreds of years, the connection of Black Women to transgression, sin, and barbarism has been wielded as rationale for innumerable horrors. Even before the inception of this nation, Black Women experienced the racist idea that Black skin was evidence of Satanism while simultaneously, the subjugation of misogyny and patriarchy. Both served as excuses to terrorize Black Women, and it is these dual forms of dehumanization that were directed at Delegate Danielle Walker. The Morgantown/Kingwood Branch of the NAACP emphatically condemns Council Member Bledsoe.
These racist and sexist beliefs have shaped policy, bred indifference towards the suffering of Black Women, and resulted in exclusion—from the business world to the ballot box—of Black Women for the majority of our history. To leave the words of Council Member Bledsoe unchallenged would be to diminish the harm the words—and the ideas that animate them—do to Black Women and the injury they cause society as a whole. It should be intolerable for an elected official to refer to another person as “satanic” and disqualifying when they refuse to accept responsibility for their actions and lack of judgement. With Fairmont ranking among the most diverse communities in the state, it should alarm all West Virginians of good conscience that such vitriol would be espoused by a representative of the people. The faith in Council Member Bledsoe to fairly consider and advocate for the needs of all constituents has been irrevocably diminished, and the degradation has been more to his own reputation, than that of Delegate Walker.
The Morgantown/Kingwood Branch of the NAACP is proud to fight for dignity and civil rights for all, and stand against unjust words, actions, and policies. It is our duty, and our honor, to name this expression of gendered racism, and insist upon accountability. The Branch calls for Council Member Bledsoe to resign immediately.
—Morgantown/Kingwood Branch of the NAACP
August 24, 2020