By Ariel Worthy
The Birmingham Times
Local activists are calling for the resignation of Hezekiah Jackson IV, president of the Birmingham Metro Chapter of the NAACP, after court testimony that Jackson received an amount that reached $4,000 a month to convince people in North Birmingham not to get their soil tested.
Jackson, president of the Birmingham National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for the past 20 years, vehemently denied the allegations.
During a press conference on Friday, Carlos Chaverst, Iva Williams, Keith Williams and Le’Darius Hilliard stood outside Hugo L. Black United States Courthouse demanding that Jackson resign after former State Rep. Oliver Robinson claimed Jackson was paid through Robinson’s foundation to persuade North Birmingham residents not to subject their homes to poison tests.
“You have played against black folks in this city, in this county and in this state,” Chaverst said to Jackson during the news conference. “You’ve played black folks, you have made money off of, you’ve pocketed money off black folks — $4,000.”
Chaverst said the allegations are about morality.
“We can’t prove that he took any cash, because there isn’t a paper trail,” Chaverst said in an interview.
“I do believe that Oliver Robinson, when he testified under oath in court per his plea agreement, knowing he faces 100 years, I don’t think he would lie,” Chaverst said in an interview with The Birmingham Times. “I think when he testified and said he paid Hezekiah in cash for his services for his involvement, I think that’s true. Oliver Robinson has no reason to lie.”
In 2017, Robinson pleaded guilty to multiple counts of bribery and conspiracy related to his accepting bribes from Drummond Company and its subsidiary ABC Coke. In exchange, Robinson gave his opposition to expansion of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 35th Avenue Superfund Site in North Birmingham.
To hear allegations that the president of the NAACP was supposedly “taking money to not even speak up for black folks” enraged him, Chaverst said in an interview.
Jackson said Robinson was giving false testimony, that he was not involved and he has no need to step down as president during the news conference.
“You produce [proof] and I’ll resign,” Jackson said during the press conference. “Until then, I’m not going anywhere. You can’t find one person in North Birmingham that’ll say that I asked them to do anything concerning the EPA.”
Contacted late Monday, Jackson said in a phone interview he will not allow anyone to slander him. “If they found one scrap of paper to document their claims other than those invoices that the man on trial created I’ll resign.”