By Joel Hall
This week, the Annual Georgia State Civil Rights Advocacy Conference, hosted by the Georgia State Conference of the NAACP, will take place in Clayton County for the first time in its 65-year history.
The conference, from Wednesday, Oct. 3, to Saturday, Oct. 6, will housed at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel, located at 1900 Sullivan Road in College Park.
Events for the conference will take place in several sites throughout Clayton County, with the first event at the Lake Spivey Golf Course in Jonesboro.
The First Annual William J. Breeding, Sr. Golf Tournament, which will start at 9 a.m, on Oct. 3, will mark the first time the Georgia NAACP has hosted a golf tournament. The tournament derives its name from William Breeding, a recently deceased, former first vice president of the Georgia NAACP, a long-time educator and avid golfer.
"William Breeding was a long-time trailblazer in the organization," said Edward DuBose, president of the Georgia NAACP. "He was a golfer at a time when black people were not playing golf. In addition to his leadership, he was just the right person ... as a golfer and a leader ... to have recognition for this event."
DuBose said the golf tournament will become a permanent feature of the annual conference, and that next year's conference would take place in Augusta, where the NAACP was already scouting for suitable golf courses.
"It's a sign of the times ... a sign of African Americans taking opportunities in sports that we traditionally have not in the past," said DuBose. Registration for the golf tournament is $50.
On Oct. 4, a Public Mass will take place at New Macedonia Baptist Church, located at 7725 Highway 85 in Riverdale. The event, which will begin at 7:30 p.m., will serve as a kick-off for the conference. "It's kind of like a big rally," said Dexter Matthews, president of the Clayton County Branch of the NAACP. "It's a way to get [people] motivated, and where you get your marching orders."
The guest speaker for the Public Mass will be Rev. Timothy McDonald, head pastor of First Iconium Baptist Church in Atlanta. On Friday morning, Oct. 5, there will be a Religious Affairs Breakfast at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel, with Rev. Donald Battle of Divine Faith Ministries International as guest speaker. Tickets for the breakfast are $30.
On Oct. 4 and 5, the conference will host a career fair at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel from 12-5 p.m., on both days.
The career fair, which is free and open to the public, will be the first time the Georgia NAACP has hosted a career fair in conjunction with a state conference. Representatives from Cox Communications, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Nalley Automotive, State Farm Insurance, McKesson Corporation and other businesses will be accepting applications.
Workshops, dealing with finding a job using the Internet, budgeting basics, interviewing techniques and resume writing, will be a part of the event.
The activities will conclude with the State NAACP Freedom Fund Banquet at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel on Saturday, Oct. 6 at 7 p.m. Georgia Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond will be the featured speaker. Tickets for the banquet are $60 for NAACP members and $75 to the general public.
Matthews said it is a great honor for the Clayton County Branch of the NAACP to host the conference. "We have one of the largest branches in the state," he said. "This would be the perfect time to come to Clayton County. We are looking forward to seeing people from all over the country."
Tickets for all events are still available. To register online, or for more information, go to www.ganaacp.org.