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Welcome....
BENJAMIN HOOKS

July 2-6, 1984
Kansas City Convention Center
Kansas City, Mo.

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850,000 voters. Between now and November of 1984, we plan to register two million additional voters.

We will kick off a mammoth "overground railroad" march on August 14, under the leadership of Joseph Madison. Starting at the Kentucky side of the Cincinnati Bridge, we will march through Ohio to Toledo culminating with a mass rally on Labor Day weekend in Detroit, Michigan. Along the way, 13 young people representing each of 13 southern states will be active participants.

Our second cornerstone is economic development or Fair Share. This program is designed to radically alter the nature of unemployment and economic imbalance among blacks. We want representation on boards of directors. We will insist on blacks in senior management positions, an aggressive affirmative action program, and a minority procurement program.

Our young people are walking the streets, hopeless and in despair. An it's not because they are lazy. We can and we must rectify this imbalance.

The third cornerstone of our program is building support for our own institutions. Blacks have a Gross National Product of over 150 billion dollars. We must support our churches, our colleges, our black newspapers, our fraternal orders, our civil rights groups. We must build a strong, viable, and efficient network of NAACP units across the nation. Dr. T.J. Jemison, president of the seven-million-member National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., has given us the torch and has presented us with a map for helping the NAACP become the organization that destiny has called us to be.

I shall, within a few days, convene a meeting of key national religious leaders to personalize a massive nationwide effort to engender the support for the NAACP.

President Lincoln said that a nation cannot exist half-slave and half-free. Whitney Young said that we may have come over on different ships; some on the Mayflower and others on slave ships, but we are now all in the same boat. Frederick Douglass said no man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellowman without at least finding the other end of that chain fastened about his own neck. President Lyndon Johnson said prophetically that America must come to grips with the fact that it has historically mistreated the Negro, and that if we are to ever, as a nation, realize our fullest potential, we must now find ways to include those in who were systematically excluded.

Mr. Reagan, our quest as a nation for greatness must not be built upon the foundations of MX missiles or bombers, not even upon the cornerstones of a mythical "Star Wars" type defense system; not upon hundreds of individuals becoming billionaires, or on corporate profits; not upon the stock market indicators of Wall Street, but upon the well-being of over 200 million people who now call themselves Americans....

Yes, my friends, we are in the midst of a fierce struggle, one that becomes more difficult seemingly with the passing of each day.

Nineteen Eighty-Four is the 75th anniversary of the Association. For all of this time, the NAACP has been without a permanent headquarters it owned. With this in mind I propose a three-point program which will be designated 4004 to give a thousand or more in '84. This creative and innovative effort envisions 4004 or more individuals, branches, youth councils, college chapters, state conferences, organizations, churches, fraternal groups and others giving a thousand dollars or more to the NAACP for three specific purposes:

• Two million dollars for the purchase of a building.
• One million dollars to retire our debt.

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