NAACP Prepares to Build a Stronger “Conscience of a Nation” During 96th Annual Convention

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) will host more than 8,000 members, delegates and visitors at its 96th Annual Convention at the Midwest Airlines Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, July 9-15. Prominent speakers include: Honorable Barack Obama, U.S Senate (ILL.); Honorable Herbert Kohl, U.S Senate (Wis.); Jim Doyle, Governor, State of Wisconsin; Tom Barrett, Milwaukee Mayor; Manning Marable, Professor of Public Affairs, History and African-American Studies Director, Columbia University; Donna Brazile, Managing Director, Brazille and Associates. NAACP Chairman Julian Bond and Vice Chair Roslyn Brock will be among the speakers at the convention.

Dennis Courtland Hayes, NAACP Interim President & CEO, said: "The theme for this year's Convention, Conscience of a Nation, is especially apt in describing our traditional and continuing role as an advocacy organization. The NAACP will continue to right the course of our nation toward fairness and equality for all people."

Julian Bond, Chairman, NAACP National Board of Directors, said: "The NAACP Convention is the annual occasion where our members and supporters receive new information about fighting discrimination and return to their homes ready to fight anew."

The incoming NAACP President and CEO will be among the speakers on the convention's last evening at the Spingarn/Freedom Fund Banquet. During the ceremony, attorney Oliver W. Hill will be presented with the Spingarn Award, the NAACP's highest honor. A presentation for this year's Thalheimer Award winner will also be presented to NAACP branches, state conferences and publications that have contributed the most to the Association's mission during the preceding year.

The convention will host the NAACP Continuing Legal Education (CLE) seminars, with adult and youth workshops offering current tips and trends from legal industry leaders on NAACP legislative agenda/strategy, economic development, reparations litigation/legislation, employment discrimination, health care, public accommodations, education, voting rights, civil/human rights law and criminal justice. Rep. Al Green (D-TX) will address the Clarence M. Mitchell, Jr. Memorial Luncheon.

The National Board of Directors will hold their quarterly meeting Thursday, July 14 from 12:30p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The Program Information Exchange Center (IEC), created to provide a unique approach to highlight the various aspects of the history, work, programs and the meaning of the NAACP, reflects the heart of the Association and supports all of the initiatives of the NAACP Strategic Plan.

The IEC, themed this year, "Where History Is Remembered and Freedom Is Celebrated," will showcase over 30 educational, thought-provoking, interactive, and advocacy-focused exhibits including new wax figures of Earl T. Shinhoster, former NAACP National Field Secretary and Acting Executive Director; Gloster B. Current, former NAACP Director of Branch and Field Services; Medgar Wiley Evers, former NAACP Mississippi Executive Director; and Myrlie Evers-Williams, former NAACP National Board Chair.

In an effort to raise awareness regarding the inequities in the criminal and juvenile justice systems, the NAACP Prison Project will provide information and assistance to delegates to advance their advocacy efforts addressing criminal justice issues. The Prison Project will also provide information and assistance to aid NAACP units in their efforts to register former felons and to advocate for changes in laws that bar former felons from registering and voting.

The NAACP Health Advocacy Division will host a Health Symposium including panelists, Bevan Baker, Commissioner, Milwaukee Department of Health; Evelyn Lewis, MD., Pfizer, Inc and Winston Price, M.D. President, National Medical Association.

The 28th Annual NAACP Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) national competition will feature nearly 1,000 youth contestants who will compete in 25 different categories to win college scholarships, internships and a chance to be named a presidential scholar.

Women in the NAACP (WIN) will hold its annual fashion show and brunch at 11 a.m. Sunday, July 10 at the Pfister Hotel. In addition, WIN will hold a symposium, "Empowerment and Advocacy: Creative Forces in Women's Struggles". The WIN symposium includes panelists from Bethune Bookman College, MD Strum Housing Services, and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

Legendary performer, director and humanitarian Harry Belafonte will be presented the Chairman's Living Legend Award for demonstrating life-long advocacy for human and civil rights. Belafonte will receive this distinguished award during the First Plenary session at the convention.

Entertainment performances by comedians, Dick Gregory, Chris Tucker, recording artists Shirley Caesar, Smokie Norful, John Legend and Gladys Knight will be featured at the convention's Spingarn Award ceremony, youth Freedom Fund Dinner, Gospel Extravaganza and Comedy Night. These are ticketed events.

The convention will also include the NAACP Religious Leaders luncheon, with speaker Bishop Thomas Hoyt, President, National Council of Churches, and four days of exhibits and presentations of the Commerce & Industry and the Retail Expo Show.

CONTACT: NAACP Office of Communications 410.580.5125

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