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Office of News and Information
Johns Hopkins University
901 South Bond Street, Suite 540
Baltimore, Maryland 21231
Phone: 443-287-9960 | Fax: 443-287-9920

January 9, 2009
CONTACT: Amy Lunday

Johns Hopkins Conference to Mark NAACP Centennial

The Center for Africana Studies at the Johns Hopkins University will be marking the 100th anniversary of the founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People with a history conference, Friday, Feb. 6 and Saturday, Feb. 7 on the Homewood campus, 3400 N. Charles St. in Baltimore. The event is free and open to the public. Visitor parking on campus is available in the South Garage, 3101 Wyman Park Drive, Baltimore, Md. 21211.

"The Civil Rights Century: The NAACP at 100," which will take place just a few days prior to the organization's official centennial on Feb. 12, seeks to complement the NAACP's centennial celebration by focusing on history with presentations by scholars and activists noting that the civil rights struggle predated the 1960s by decades. From prominent achievements like the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education decision to lesser-known battles like the protests against the controversial 1915 film Birth of a Nation, the NAACP's stewardship of the fight for racial equality will be in the spotlight.

"This is a historic moment for the NAACP," said Ben Vinson, director of the Center for Africana Studies and a professor of Latin American history. "Given the landmark political changes generated by the recent presidential election, and continuing shifts in the discussion surrounding race in America, this conference will help us look forward to the NAACP's future while reflecting back on its landmark accomplishments as one of America's premier civil rights institutions. By featuring cutting edge research on the NAACP's history, this conference will offer a fresh look at a familiar organization in ways that will undoubtedly inform and engage our community. We are thrilled to host this event."

The conference will open on Feb. 6 with a reception and keynote address by Kweisi Mfume, former president and CEO of the NAACP (1996-2004) and former member of the House of Representatives (1986-1996).

Pulitzer Prize-winning W.E.B. Du Bois biographer David Levering Lewis will kick off the second day of events, which will include several panel discussions about the NAACP's impact on civil rights, politics, women's rights, and depictions of race in the media. Panelists include Angela Ciccolo, interim general counsel and secretary of the NAACP; and professors and graduate students from the University of Virginia, Harvard University, Duke University, the University of Georgia, Tulane University and Indiana University.

There will also be an opportunity for attendees to record their own oral histories about the civil rights struggle in Baltimore and around the country. Selected oral history recordings will be available to journalists immediately upon request, with transcripts and electronic archive access to follow at a later date.

Reporters interested in covering the invitation-only reception to meet conference speakers and participants should e-mail Francesca Gamber at naacp100@jhu.edu.

For more information about the conference, please visit www.jhu.edu/africana or e-mail naacp100@jhu.edu.

"The Civil Rights Century: The NAACP at 100" is sponsored by the Center for Africana Studies, the Center for Social Concern, the Office of Institutional Equity, and the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs at Johns Hopkins; with the Maryland Humanities Council and the Jewish Museum of Maryland; in partnership with the ACLU of Maryland, Equality Maryland, and the Maryland Black Family Alliance.

This project was made possible by a grant from the Maryland Humanities Council, through support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the conference do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the Maryland Humanities Council.