2007 Convention Highlights

July 12, 2007

The 98th Annual Convention convened in the City of Detroit July 7-12, 2007.  The theme for this years convention was Power Beyond Measure.  With the assistance from the Detroit NAACP Branch, Detroit host committee and the national office, we had an engaging and informative program.

On Saturday, July 7, the Convention officially opened with the Ribbon Cutting ceremony welcoming attendees to the Commerce and Industry Show, Program Information Exchange Center, Health Fair and Retail Expo.

A highlight in the Commerce Show was the first NAACP Author Pavilion.  The Pavilion hosted over 40 nationally known authors who provided NAACP delegates and guests with an exciting literary experience.  NAACP Image Award Nominee, Dwight Fryer, said, “It was a beautiful experience and a great opportunity to touch readers and convention attendees.”  In addition to Fryer, other notable authors included: June Cross, Connie Briscoe, Michael Cunningham, Rachel Vassel, Jabari Asim, Etan Thomas, Eddie Levert, Lyah Leflore and CeCe Winans.

On Sunday morning, July 8, the Prayer Breakfast /Memorial Service speaker was Rev. Dr. Carolyn Knight followed by the Women in the NAACP (WIN) Forum / Brunch.

Softening the tone for the Convention, on Monday, July 9 the NAACP conducted a mock funeral to bury the N-Word.  Delegates and supporters of America’s largest, most respected, oldest, and most effective civil rights organization assembled in front of COBO Hall for a march led by the casket containing the N-Word.  The procession went to Hart Plaza and concluded with a dramatic funeral service for the most vicious of all racist insults – the N-Word.

Rap industry legends Kurtis Blow and Eric B joined the NAACP in eliminating the use of derogatory terms and images aimed at and used by African Americans. Also participating were Rev. Otis Moss, Pastor, Trinity United Church of Christ, Chicago, IL,
R & B singer Eddie Levert, Kwame Kilpatrick, Mayor of Detroit and the Honorable Jennifer Granholm, Governor of Michigan.

Bishop Philip R. Cousin, Presiding Prelate, Fourth Episcopal District, African American Methodist Episcopal Church, was the keynote speaker of the National Religious Leaders Luncheon during the convention.

Tuesday, July 10 the President, NAACP Detroit Branch, NAACP Board member and Pastor, Fellowship Chapel Church, Detroit, MI, Rev. Wendell Anthony was the keynote speaker at the National Membership Luncheon.

Delegates this year were provided workshops on Fairness & Opportunity, Education, Health, the NAACP Legislative Agenda, Civic Engagement, Criminal Justice, Juvenile Justice and Legal Affairs.

Secretary Michael Chertoff, U.S Department of Homeland Security, delivered the keynote address during this years Military Dinner.

We could not have gone to Detroit without enjoying the music of Motown. The Gospel Extravaganza treated delegates to dancing to the tunes of Motown legends Martha Reeves, the Spinners and the renowned Temptations Review.
Wednesday’s Plenary Session was devoted to the “State of Young Black America.  The session focused on current issues facing young Black youth today.  The keynote address was delivered by our Youth and College Director Stefanie Brown.

The Youth and College Division hosted a “Stop” Campaign which seeks to “Stop” the demeaning images of African Americans in the media, particularly with respect to the portrayal of African American Women.

The NAACP, through its “Stop” Campaign, calls on those outside and especially those within the Black community to stop defaming our women, degrading our community, and denigrating African American history. The N – Word Funeral originated from the Youth and College Division as an initiative of the “Stop” Campaign.

UAW President Ron Gettelfinger addressed delegates attending the Labor Luncheon and Etan Thomas, Poet and NBA player from the Washington Wizards gave a riveting speech to our youth during the Roy Wilkins Youth Leadership Luncheon.

Gospel sensation CeCe Winans treated guests to spiritual kindness during the Gospel Extravaganza and the Youth Freedom Fund Awards Dinner featured popular singing talents Trey Songs and Lil Mo.

Award winning filmmaker/director Michael Moore held a special screening of his latest move “SICKO” at the convention. The film profiled Americans whose lives have been affected by the lack of quality healthcare. Immediately following the movie, Moore took questions and held an open discussion with NAACP delegates.

During the final Plenary Session on Thursday, July 12, top priority was to mobilize people in anticipation of the 2008 presidential election.  The Republican and Democratic Presidential Candidates Forum, hosted by television journalist Russ Mitchell, offered a platform for future leaders to address their plans to eradicate disparities within the African American community.

The Convention closed with a special Spingarn presentation to Congressman John Conyers.  Conyers is the 92nd recipient of the Spingarn medal, the NAACP highest honor.  Entertainment this year was the incomparable Patti LaBelle.

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