Membership rises in NAACP after leadership summit

June 18, 1994|By Rafael Alvarez | Rafael Alvarez,Sun Staff Writer

Interest and membership in the NAACP has surged in the wake of the recent national black leadership summit sponsored by the Baltimore-based civil rights group, Executive Director Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. said yesterday.

"Since Tuesday, we've been averaging about 5,000 new members a day in local branches around the country," Dr. Chavis said. "That's a real jump for us."

By comparison, the 85-year-old National Association for the Advancement of Colored People attracted about 150,000 new members over the past 12 months.

The unprecedented summit brought together 100 black leaders -- from Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam to legendary Afrocentrist author John Henrik Clarke -- to discuss the problems facing African-Americans. Three working committees will continue to address economic development, youth and community empowerment, and moral and spiritual issues.

The Baltimore summit was highly publicized, with some proceedings carried live on C-Span and NBC. After it ended Tuesday -- with Dr. Chavis proclaiming, "We have defied the forces that want to divide us" -- interest in NAACP membership reportedly surged.

"It's young people and middle-aged people," Dr. Chavis said. "I gave out 500 membership applications in the Atlanta airport alone this week, as people came up to thank us for the summit."

The NAACP plans to convene local summits this summer in Chicago, Atlanta, Baltimore, New York, Detroit, Los Angeles and other cities.

It costs $15 a year to belong to the NAACP.

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