NAACP to honor locals

Robert Newton
Robert Newton, owner of Smokehouse Bob's restaurant in Muskogee,
will be honored with an NAACP Image award this weekend. Also to be honored
is former educator and state Representative Barbara Staggs.

Robert Newton

November 3, 2009
By Cathy Spaulding
Muskogee Phoenix News

(Muskogee, Oklahoma) - About 300 people from across Oklahoma are expected at the 77th Annual NAACP State Conference Friday and Saturday at Muskogee’s Indian Capital Technology Center.

The theme of this year’s conference, “NAACP 100 Years: Bold Dreams — Big Victories!,” fits the Oklahoma chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People well, state President Anthony R. Douglas said in a letter to supporters.

“This theme truly characterizes the personality of our organization with incredible distinction, to which we feel leaves an incredible mark on our history, which cannot be erased,” Douglas said. “This year being the 100th Anniversary of the NAACP, it is therefore noteworthy that some of the oldest branches in the association are part of Oklahoma’s great history.”

The convention will feature workshops on voter empowerment and economic development, said conference co-chair Shelia Crutcher of Muskogee. A community gathering and memorial service will be held at 7 p.m. Friday at Old Agency Baptist Church with Larry H. Smith of Macedonia Baptist Church officiating.

Smokehouse Bob’s owner Robert Newton and former educator and State Representative Barbara Staggs will be honored with the NAACP Image Awards.

“Newton is a longtime business owner who started out selling vegetables and fresh fish,” said Derrick Reed, Muskogee NAACP president.

He said Newton has been active in the community.

Reed said Staggs is “a longtime fighter for black causes.”

“When she was chairman of the Democratic Party, she got members to get involved with the NAACP,” Reed said.

Newton, who opened his barbecue restaurant in 1988, said he feels honored.

“I’m happy to receive an award,” he said. “You’ve got to earn everything you win.”

A native of Wagoner, Newton opened a fruit and vegetable stand in Muskogee in 1967. He opened a fish market in 1982 and his current business in 1988. The restaurant has been featured in Southern Living magazine. Newton received a businessman of the year award from Alpha Lambda Zeta.

Newton also has been involved with the Muskogee Juneteenth Historical Foundation, which is working to set up a historical museum, he said.

Staggs said she is flattered to receive the award.

“I came from a background in which people are people, and that’s all there is to it,” she said.

Reach Cathy Spaulding at 684-2928 or

If you go

WHAT: NAACP 77th Annual State Convention.

WHEN: Friday and Saturday.

WHERE: Indian Capital Technology Center, 2403 N. 42nd St.

THEME: “NAACP 100 Years: Bold Dreams — Big Victories!”

INFORMATION: Anthony R. Douglas, state president/chair, (405) 722-6100.


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