The man called “Doc” by his friends, who has come to embody the local branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, is ready to begin a new phase in his career.

Marvin Cheatham, who Pinder Group CEO Sharon Pinder says has restored the NAACP brand, is stepping down as the 18th president and is pursuing election to the Democratic State Central Committee for the 44th Legislative District.

In his real-time work, Cheatham has served for more than 38 years as an election specialist for the National Labor Relations Board and found that the service he’s provided gratis to the NAACP, “that brought with it personal attacks and death threats, paid daily with God giving me the opportunity to help others.”

He accounts a significantly improved level of activism as the strength of his leadership. He says service is the true measure of success.

“Doc is a servant leader whose best leadership gift is his passion, vision and willingness to make the sacrifice,” Pinder said, adding that his tenure brought revitalization to the branch and “reminded us of its continued necessity.”

Among the branch’s most recent accomplishments are its challenge to Wells Fargo’s banking practices and obtaining a settlement on questionable police arrests. It also received the NAACP’s 2009 National Thalheimer Programmatic 1st Place 1-A branch award and the publication award of the same name.

His supporters agree, however, that the achievements are just too many to mention.
Bringing branch meetings back to the original meeting place, Union Baptist Church, tops the list for the Rev. Dr. Al Hathway Sr., Union’s pastor.

“He has re-established the branch as a viable and integral part of the community’s fabric,” Rev. Hathaway said. “He’s committed to addressing the issues that most affect people.”

Taking on uncomfortable criminal justice issues is what strikes Alfreda Robinson-Dawkins, executive director of the National Women’s Prison Project. “He unabashedly holds onto the mission of the NAACP and holds government officials accountable to people of color and speaks out for folks caught in the system, while also establishing help for their return to the community.”

A life member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Cheatham’s hope for the future of the branch is a stronger connection with the faith-based community to engender increased membership and involvement. For himself, he hopes that his longstanding record of walking the walk as a “freedom fighter” will speak for itself in his future endeavor.