Nimrod Chapel, Jr. fights to protect rights

2 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago Thursday, February 01 2018 Feb 1, 2018 Thursday, February 01, 2018 8:08:00 AM CST February 01, 2018 in News
By: Ian Nickens, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

JEFFERSON CITY – The leader of Missouri's NAACP says the current political climate is problematic.

"If I tell you that there’s a lot of room for improvement, that might be a good place to start," Nimrod Chapel, Jr., said.

He is keeping an eye on several legislative initiatives, from payday loans to healthcare to changes that would affect how judges are chosen. 

Chapel has a lot to keep track of as the president of both the Missouri NAACP and Jefferson City NAACP. It's his job to follow issues and figure out way to inform the public about them. He's also responsible for providing help to local NAACP branches that want to get started or expand.

In addition to his volunteer work with the NAACP, Chapel practices law.

"I’m a trial lawyer, an advocate for the people," he said. "I spend a lot of time working on behalf of individuals throughout the state that are either members of the NAACP or various constituent groups that have civil rights issues."

He runs the Chapel Law group, which operates throughout the state, and also works "of counsel" at Barnes and Associates in Jefferson City.

Chapel said one week he added up how much he had traveled and it was more than 1,000 miles – and that's just in-state.

When he's not working as a lawyer or the president of the MO NAACP, Chapel spends time with his family. He also enjoys the outdoors.

"I scuba dive some. I don’t get out nearly as much as I use to, but I’m going to do some more of that, at least a little more this year, I’m sure of that," he said.

Chapel's journey to become president of the MO NAACP started, he said, when he was very young, as he watched his dad advocate for others.

"Watching that example, watching my mother, who still teaches at Lincoln, and everything she’s done to ensure that folks still have access to education, left a real mark on me."

He said his dad played a role in the biggest desegregation case decided by the Supreme Court.

"I understood that my dad picked cotton to fund the litigation that became Brown vs. the Board of Education," he said. "So with that, I kind of feel a responsibility not only to the organization, but to the idea that advocacy must occur, and to be honest with you, those inequities are also what drove me to the law."

Life didn't start in Missouri for Chapel. He came to the state after he graduated law school. He started his career by working as a clerk for the Missouri Supreme Court. He eventually came to replace his father as president of the Jefferson City NAACP. He's been president of the state branch for two years now.

He played a part in the organization's decision to issue a travel ban in Missouri. It encouraged minorities to stay away from the state because their civil rights might be violated.

Chapel said decades of informing citizens of dangers to their civil rights weren't having the desired effects, so he wanted to warn people.

"Missouri’s got some issues that need to be addressed and we as a society, as a people in the state, have got to call for those to be addressed," Chapel said. "And if we can’t get those fixed, the least that we can do is tell people before they get here, or if they live here, what they could be confronting."

Chapel said he hopes he can address those issues by continuing to expand the NAACP and adding a board of experts who can testify on various subjects. Chapel said Missouri has always been an important battleground for civil rights.

It's where the former slave Dred Scott sued for his freedom and where Frank Lloyd Gaines had to receive a court order to allow him to go to MU law school.

"There are a lot of tragedies that have occurred in MO and around the country," Chapel said. "Some of those relate to nothing more than skin color and perceptions of those and who has power and who doesn’t."

February is Black History Month and the president of the MO NAACP has a message to share with everyone in Missouri:

"Do we want to perpetuate some of the same harms that have emanated from Missouri in the past with Dred Scott, with the Missouri Compromise, or do we want to lead in a new direction, where maybe our children, or our grandchildren can look forward and say ‘the civil rights struggles that were fought in the 40s, 50s, 60s that are still being fought in the 1910s and 1920s or 2000s can have been put to bed or perhaps eased in some way.'"

Chapel said he hopes to see a brighter future.

"So maybe in 20 years, we’ve got a society that gets along, that makes accommodations for everyone in a democracy, that democracy equals fair play and justice and that when we celebrate Black History Month, we can celebrate some of those triumphs for all people," he said.

More News

Grid
List
FORSYTH (AP) — Forest Service officials say wildfires in Taney County last week are being investigated as possible arson.... More >>
8 hours ago Wednesday, February 21 2018 Feb 21, 2018 Wednesday, February 21, 2018 11:15:00 AM CST February 21, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — An Illinois megadonor is contributing $500,000 to the effort to make Missouri a right-to-work... More >>
8 hours ago Wednesday, February 21 2018 Feb 21, 2018 Wednesday, February 21, 2018 10:59:41 AM CST February 21, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Officers arrested a man on Tuesday following an investigation into alleged domestic assault. The 74-year-old female... More >>
8 hours ago Wednesday, February 21 2018 Feb 21, 2018 Wednesday, February 21, 2018 10:53:00 AM CST February 21, 2018 in News
TRENTON (AP) — Authorities say a man has been arrested in the theft of an ambulance from a northwest... More >>
9 hours ago Wednesday, February 21 2018 Feb 21, 2018 Wednesday, February 21, 2018 9:37:11 AM CST February 21, 2018 in News
MARCELINE (AP) — Authorities say a train has struck and killed a third-grader in northern Missouri. The... More >>
9 hours ago Wednesday, February 21 2018 Feb 21, 2018 Wednesday, February 21, 2018 9:28:00 AM CST February 21, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Solid Waste Utility and Downtown Community Improvement District will meet Wednesday night to discuss the... More >>
11 hours ago Wednesday, February 21 2018 Feb 21, 2018 Wednesday, February 21, 2018 7:50:00 AM CST February 21, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA- It’s no secret anything related to a Disney character can dazzle a child. Lauren Kight, a senior at... More >>
13 hours ago Wednesday, February 21 2018 Feb 21, 2018 Wednesday, February 21, 2018 6:00:00 AM CST February 21, 2018 in News
Jefferson City - In mid-Missouri, there are few opportunities to take to the ice like your favorite Olympic figure skater,... More >>
22 hours ago Tuesday, February 20 2018 Feb 20, 2018 Tuesday, February 20, 2018 8:30:00 PM CST February 20, 2018 in News
SEDALIA - Icy weather hit Sedalia and other western counties on Tuesday. The conditions are expected to continue through... More >>
23 hours ago Tuesday, February 20 2018 Feb 20, 2018 Tuesday, February 20, 2018 8:03:00 PM CST February 20, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The 2018 Economic Outlook Conference kicked off at Columbia College with a laugh and speakers discussing how... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, February 20 2018 Feb 20, 2018 Tuesday, February 20, 2018 7:06:00 PM CST February 20, 2018 in Top Stories
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — The Missouri House has given initial approval to a bill outlawing so-called "revenge porn." ... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, February 20 2018 Feb 20, 2018 Tuesday, February 20, 2018 6:34:00 PM CST February 20, 2018 in Top Stories
KOMU-8 viewers shared their favorite pictures of their pets for National Love Your Pet Day Tuesday. Show your pets... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, February 20 2018 Feb 20, 2018 Tuesday, February 20, 2018 5:04:00 PM CST February 20, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A University of Missouri team of researchers created a massive new area of research. A multi-disciplinary... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, February 20 2018 Feb 20, 2018 Tuesday, February 20, 2018 5:00:00 PM CST February 20, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – Attorney General Josh Hawley announced Tuesday he is taking a stance against harassment and discrimination in the... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, February 20 2018 Feb 20, 2018 Tuesday, February 20, 2018 4:14:00 PM CST February 20, 2018 in Top Stories
JEFFERSON CITY - A judge sentenced Anthony Quin Hodges of Fulton on Tuesday for receiving and distributing child pornography. ... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, February 20 2018 Feb 20, 2018 Tuesday, February 20, 2018 3:23:00 PM CST February 20, 2018 in Top Stories
ASHLAND - The Southern Boone County District superintendent said police presence in the district's schools is just a part of... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, February 20 2018 Feb 20, 2018 Tuesday, February 20, 2018 3:15:00 PM CST February 20, 2018 in News
MEXICO - Gov. Eric Greitens visited the Veterans Home in Mexico on Tuesday, after releasing investigation results from an assessment... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, February 20 2018 Feb 20, 2018 Tuesday, February 20, 2018 3:10:00 PM CST February 20, 2018 in Top Stories
JEFFERSON CITY - Tuesday morning, a group of more than 300 advocates for gun control filled the state Capitol to... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, February 20 2018 Feb 20, 2018 Tuesday, February 20, 2018 2:23:00 PM CST February 20, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 29°
8pm 29°
9pm 29°
10pm 29°
11pm 30°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

7:00p
2018 Olympic Winter Games
10:00p
KOMU 8 News @ 10
10:35p
2018 Olympic Winter Games
7:00p
Riverdale
8:00p
Penn & Teller: Fool Us
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
2018 Olympic Winter Games
7:00p
Riverdale
8:00p
Penn & Teller: Fool Us
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld