The statewide NAACP annual conference will be held this week in Lawrence.
A nationally known fair housing activist will speak Saturday at Kansas University at the NAACP's 53rd Kansas State Conference.
Edythe Flemings Hall, executive director of National Neighbors Inc., will be the keynote speaker at the Branches Freedom Fund Awards banquet, which begins with activities at 6:30 p.m. Saturday in the Kansas Union Ballroom. The banquet starts at 7 p.m.
The Lawrence chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is hosting the conference.
Hall's National Neighbors Inc. is the oldest national fair housing organization dedicated to promoting multicultural and economically diverse neighborhoods by coordinating housing law.
The program develops fair housing and lending initiatives that reduce barriers to home ownership for under-served populations.
Hall also is senior vice president for the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, which represents 500 non-profit organizations.
The coalition provides technical assistance and sponsors training aimed at building the capacity of community-based organizations, neighborhood groups and public officials.
She was formerly the national NAACP administrator for minority business and employment and director of life membership/leadership development.
"It's very important to us that we, as a branch were picked to host it," said Marian Brown, who is chairing the conference. "It's quite an honor and a privilege. It's like a feather in our hat. ... I don't see Lawrence doing this again this century."
She said that Hall will "speak in terms of how the NAACP has been effective in seeking equality for not only blacks, but for all people," Brown said.
The theme of the conference is "Marching United Toward the 20th Century," Brown said.
Conference registration begins at 9 a.m. Friday at the Ramada Inn, Sixth and Iowa, where workshops will be held each hour through the day.
"We're going to be covering economic development, housing, labor and industry, media and communication, education and political action," said Brown, local NAACP chairperson.
"The workshops are drawing a lot of interest," she said. "We want people to come and find out what the NAACP truly has to offer."
A "Soulfood Dinner," a free fellowship event, will be held at 6 p.m. Friday at Ninth Street Baptist Church, Ninth and Ohio. A memorial service and "Gospel Fest" will finish up the evening.
Saturday's events begin with a ministers' and laity breakfast at 7 a.m. at Ninth Street Baptist Church.
Registration and workshops will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday at the Ramada.
Menola Upshaw, educator and national board member of NAACP's Region IV, will speak at noon Saturday at the Ramada at the Life Membership luncheon. Brown will sing "The Lord's Prayer" at the luncheon.
The conference ends with the Saturday night banquet.
Admission to the conference is $30 in advance or $40 at the door. For ticket information, contact Marian Brown, 842-3348.
The Rev. Ed Taylor, Lawrence, is the president of the local branch of the NAACP. Louisa A. Fletcher is president of the state branch.