By Barney Blakeney
The South Carolina State NAACP Conference of Branches held its 77th annual Convention at the Marriot Hotel in North Charleston October 11-14. President Brenda C. Murphy said the event went well despite the threat of Hurricane Michael. The threat however did prevent the attendance of keynote speaker for the Friday Membership and Faith Awards Luncheon, National NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson.
Johnson was held up Friday at Atlanta, Ga.’s Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, but nothing else was held up at the convention that drew several hundred attendees each of its scheduled four days. “I think the participants learned a lot in the work sessions and training session,” said Murphy.
Though Johnson was unable to make his planned speech, several other speakers who included the Friday night Freedom Awards Banquet and Celebration keynote speaker Rev. Nelson B. Rivers, III, pastor of Charity Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston, brought inspiring messages, Murphy said. North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey brought greetings on behalf of the city and Democratic gubernatorial candidate James Smith also spoke to the conventioneers. Murphy noted former Vice President Joe Biden was at the hotel and offered encouraging words to some of the younger attendees.
The North Charleston Branch NAACP hosted the convention. President Ed Bryant said he was elated by several highlights of the event, most especially Thursday’s Community Mass Meeting at Canaan Missionary Baptist Church which was open to the public. Bryant said sessions on legal redress and economics provided vital training. Most important were sessions on organizing grassroots efforts to get out the vote for the November 6 general elections, Bryant said.
Charleston Branch NAACP President Dot Scott said Rev. Isaac Holt of Royal Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston stood in for Johnson at the Friday Membership and Faith Awards Luncheon. Both he and Rivers brought powerful messages, she said.
The North Charleston Branch NAACP will hold its annual Freedom Fund Banquet October 20 at the North Charleston Convention Center. The Charleston Branch NAACP will hold its annual Freedom Fund Banquet November 3 at the Gaillard Center in Charleston.