In 1963, civil rights leaders met at Dorchester Academy to plan the famed march on Birmingham.
More than a half century later, an estimated 300-400 civil rights leaders from around Georgia will again meet at Dorchester when the state National Association for the Advancement of Colored Peoples convenes Friday and Saturday in Liberty County for the group’s quarterly leadership conference.
Liberty County NAACP Branch President and First District Coordinator Graylan Quarterman said the two-day conference is geared toward training newer officers and helping members find solutions to problems they face.
"They will have an opportunity also to discuss issues that they’re having in their individual communities and possibly find solutions to those issues because some have dealt with a similar issue and resolved that problem in the past," Quarterman said. "It’s also a networking opportunity for folks to know where different expertise are, so if an issue comes up they know who to reach out to for their expertise."
Certain portions of the conference are open to the public. A ticket to attend the entire conference is $30.
The event begins at 6 p.m. Friday at Dorchester Academy with reception, open to the public, and a tour through the historical site.
A community mass meeting, with guest speaker Sen. Lester G. Jackson, D-Savannah, will follow the tour.
Saturday morning includes a 7:30 a.m breakfast at the Performing Arts Center
The morning’s topic is "Striving towards excellence in public education."
There will be a panel discussion with Liberty County School Superintendent Dr. Valya Lee and Dr. M. Ann Levett, deputy superintendent and chief academic officer for Chatham County.
State School Superintendent Richard Woods will also speak.
Georgia’s Criminal Justice Council on Reform Chairman Michael Boggs will lead a session on criminal justice reform with remarks from other local leaders.
A luncheon will include guest speaker Rep. Al Williams, D-Midway.
Quarterman, who also serves as assistant secretary for the Georgia NAACP, invited the NAACP to meet here.
"The executive board and Liberty County leadership thought it would be fitting to have planning at a historical place where major civil rights planning took place in the past that has changed and helped write our civil rights legislation today," Quarterman said. "As we sit at a pinnacle point of time where we have seen so much divisiveness within our public arena, what a great place to get a fresh start and come up with a strategic plan on how we can work along with the new administration to improve our civil rights agenda."
Having the conference in Liberty also helps southeast Georgia NAACP officers who do not have the opportunity to travel to receive training and support, Quarterman said.
He is cohosting the conference along with Richard Shinhoster, also a first district coordinator.
Tickets are limited. For information call 912-408-2278 or email Quarterman at email@example.com