, Staff Writer

(FinalCall.com) – Nearly two years after former NAACP Acting Executive Director and CEO Earl T. Shinhoster died from injuries suffered in an accident involving a Ford Explorer equipped with Firestone tires, his wrongful death case finally went to trial at Final Call press time at the Macon County State Court in Tuskegee, Ala.

Hundreds of cases have been settled that involved victims who had either been injured or killed while in a Ford Explorer equipped with Firestone tires.   Yet, this has not been the case for Mr. Shinhoster or the other passengers who survived the accident.

Also injured in the vehicle was Samimah Aziz, daughter of Nation of Islam International Representative Akbar Muhammad, and Nation of Islam member Ademah Muhammad of Atlanta.


Mr. Shinhoster was fatally injured in Alabama on June 11, 2000 when the Ford Explorer he was riding in was involved in an accident. He was traveling to Montgomery, Ala., to escort the First Lady of the Republic of Liberia when the accident occurred. He was also scheduled to direct a voter registration drive later that day in Tuskegee, Ala.

Since then, Mrs. Ruby Shinhoster and son Michael have waited for their day in court since attempts to negotiate a settlement have failed.

The NAACP has called for the Ford Motor Company to fairly compensate the family of Mr. Shinhoster. Nelson B. Rivers III, NAACP chief operating officer, said: “Earl’s untimely death was a grave loss to the NAACP as well as his family. His lifelong dedication to justice and equality remains a shining example of the kind of leadership that has guided this organization through its 93-year history.”

During his 30-year career with the NAACP, Mr. Shinhoster served in a number of senior administrative positions, including national field secretary and national director of Voter Empowerment, which he held at the time of his death.

The case will be presided by Judge Harold Bryant.