Chestertown, MD, November 8, 2001 — Washington College's Goldstein Program in Public Affairs presents A CONVERSATION WITH KWEISI MFUME, president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), on Thursday, November 29, 2001, at 7 p.m. in the Tawes Theatre, Gibson Performing Arts Center. The event is free and the public is invited to attend an evening of open political and social discussion.
Long known in Maryland politics and media, Mfume became president and chief executive officer of the NAACP in 1996, after a 10-year career in the United States Congress, where he represented Maryland's 7th Congressional District. Mfume, whose West African name means, "conquering son of kings," was born, raised and educated in Baltimore. As a freshman at Morgan State University, he became more politically and socially active, and served as editor of the school's newspaper and head of the Black Student Union. He graduated magna cum laude and later returned to Morgan State to teach courses in political science and communications. In 1984, he earned a masters degree in liberal arts, with a concentration in international studies, from Johns Hopkins University.
As Mfume's community involvement grew, so did his popularity as an activist, organizer, and radio commentator. He translated that approval into a grassroots election victory for a seat on the Baltimore City Council in 1979. During seven years of service in local government, Mfume led efforts to diversify city government, improve community safety, enhance minority business development and divest city funds from the apartheid government of South Africa.
In 1986, he was elected to the Congressional seat that he was to hold for the next decade. As a Member of Congress, Mfume was active with broad committee obligations and served on the Banking and Financial Services Committee, the General Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, the Committee on Education and the Small Business Committee. While in his third term, the Speaker of the House chose him to serve on the Ethics Committee and the Joint Economic Committee of the House and Senate where he later became chair. As a member of the House of Representatives, Mfume consistently advocated landmark minority business and civil rights legislation.
He successfully co-sponsored and helped to pass the Americans with Disabilities Act, authorized the minority contracting and employment amendments to the Financial Institutions Reform and Recovery Act, strengthened Equal Credit Opportunity Law, and amended the Community Reinvestment Act in the interest of minority financial institutions. He co-authored and successfully amended the Civil Rights Bill of 1991 to apply the act to U.S. citizens working abroad for American-based companies. He also sponsored legislative initiatives banning assault weapons and establishing stalking as a federal crime.
Mfume has served as chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus and later as the Caucus' Chair of the Task Force on Affirmative Action. During his last term in Congress, he was appointed by the House Democratic Caucus as the Vice-Chairman for Communications.
Since assuming the position of president and CEO of the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization, Mfume has raised the standards and expectations of NAACP branches nationwide, and has worked with NAACP volunteers across the country to help usher in a whole new generation of civil rights advocacy. His six-point action agenda—encompassing civil rights, political empowerment, educational excellence, economic development, health and youth outreach—has given the NAACP a clear and compelling blueprint for the 21st century.
With a long background in broadcasting, including 13 years in radio, Mfume continues to host the award-winning television show, "The Bottom Line," seen Saturdays at 7 p.m. on WBAL-TV in Baltimore. His best selling autobiography is entitled, "No Free Ride."
Mfume's visit is sponsored by Washington College's Goldstein Program in Public Affairs, established in honor of the late Louis L. Goldstein, a 1935 alumnus and Maryland's longest-serving elected official. The Goldstein Program sponsors lectures, symposia, visiting fellows, travel and other projects that bring students and faculty together with leaders in public policy.