November 2, 1950 – March 22, 2022
It was with great regret that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) along with the California Hawaii State Conference of NAACP Branches and the San Francisco NAACP announced the loss of one of their most dedicated and stellar NAACP civil rights leaders. On the morning of Tuesday, March 22, 2022, longtime and highly respected NAACP leader Dan Daniels Sr passed away peacefully in his San Rafael home with his family and friends at his side. Dan was the First Vice-President of the California Hawaii State Conference of Branches and had decades of service as the Director of the State Coastal NAACP Branches from Salinas/Monterey to Sonoma County and in various executive leadership positions in the San Francisco NAACP.
Dan was born on November 2, 1950 in New Orleans, Louisiana and was the son of Eddie and Gloria Daniels. Dan and his family moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, at an early age, where he grew up and attended school. Most importantly, he always noted that, from his earliest days, he was a proud youth of the NAACP. He attended Central State University and Langston University where he received a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Radio and Television Broadcasting. Dan took great pride in the fact that his first job after college was to be trained by and write for the famous civil rights icon Clara Luper of Oklahoma. Ms. Luper was a history teacher and an NAACP Youth Council organizer who led sit-in demonstrations to desegregate lunch counters and other public accommodations in Oklahoma.
After his honorable service in the U.S. Army in Korea during the Vietnam war, Dan migrated to the San Francisco Bay Area and worked in various direct services and administrative capacities for over 24 years (1973 – 1997) with the California Department of Corrections as a Parole Agent and Correctional Counselor.
In 1976, Dan met Christine McCallum Daniels (Chris); and, they were married in Reno, Nevada on January 1, 1980. They always wanted to celebrate and reflect on their most special love story every year on New Year’s Day. To their marriage were born two children, daughter, Rachel Daniels and son Danny Daniels Jr in San Rafael, California. Chris predeceased Dan and passed away just last year on June 8, 2021. They were both soul mates who in their career paths always endeavored to make life better for others either in the work force or the community.
Dan’s commitment to social justice and equity led him to courageously work to change policy and practice within the correctional system and to continue that path as he transitioned to join the leadership ranks of the San Francisco Branch of the NAACP and faithfully supported its Presidents from Lulann McGriff to Alex Pitcher, Nathaniel Mason and Dr. Amos Brown.
From 1996 to 2004, Dan served as the Executive Director of the West Bay Local Development Corporation. In that role, he made the West Bay Conference Center come alive as the place for the African American community in the Fillmore to host and celebrate their cultural and special events with dinners, music, lectures and social gatherings.
From 2004 to 2012, Dan was the Marketing and Community Relations Manager for the Buckelew Programs. In this program, Dan was an innovator in developing services for those experiencing mental health and substance misuse challenges and assisting them with counseling, recovery, service navigation, suicide prevention, housing and employment. Dan has always been insightful and thoughtful about how best to help people take control and command of their lives.
From 2012 forward until he retired, Dan was at the forefront of working with youth in Marin County. He served as an Employment Development Counselor at Marin Employment Connection with Juvenile Probation Services. Dan has always been an entrepreneur in public service and he used this talent to think about how to help young people transition to adulthood and become fully independent. He creatively thought about what would be the fundamental skills necessary for youth to obtain to sustain and support themselves in careers in computers, technology and other fields.
Dan’s commitment to the service of others led Marin County to establish the “Dan Daniels Spirit of Service Award” in his honor. It is an award given to a participant in the County of Marin’s Career Explorer Youth Program – who demonstrates passion in serving clients, co-workers and community partners while stating a goal of eventually becoming a full-fledged County of Marin employee. Marin County viewed Dan as a highly respected mentor for so many service programs in the County that uplifted and grounded young people on their career paths.
Dan’s life of commitment to service was fully reflected in his dedicated work on behalf of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. From the California Hawaii State Conference, President and Attorney Rick Callender and President Emerita Alice Huffman both concurred that Dan meticulously supported the work of the individual branches in the field with a primary focus on the coastal branches here in Northern California. Dan was always a hands-on leader who traveled the distance and at significant expense of time, energy and resources to facilitate the success of the various units. He was always available to consult with the branches to enable them to achieve their very best.
NAACP National President Derrick Johnson and Chairman Leon Russell observed that Dan has been an engaging and exemplary partner in the organization and his many contributions to the SFNAACP and California Hawaii State Conference of Branches made the National Organization even stronger because of his generosity, presence and commitment to the cause of civil rights.
The Daniels’ family has announced that the memorial service and Joyous Celebration of Life for Dan Daniels Sr. will take place at historic Third Baptist Church in San Francisco on Friday, April 29, 2022 at 1:00 pm.
Attorney Peter Graham Cohn has worked with the national NAACP – including the late Chairman Emeritus Julian Bond – for over 45 years at the national, regional, state and local levels. He has also been an advisor and counsel to the SFNAACP Branch since the 1970’s. In the course of that work, he has been a longtime friend and admirer of the great work of Mr. Dan Daniels, Sr. and can be reached at: [email protected].