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April 10, 2006

Kweisi Mfume to Deliver Annual Higginbotham Lecture at Association’s June Luncheon

PHILADELPHIA--Kweisi Mfume, former president and chief executive officer of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and candidate for U.S. Senate in Maryland, will deliver the annual Judge A. Leon Higginbotham Jr. Memorial Public Interest Lecture at the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Quarterly Meeting and Luncheon on Monday, June 19 at the Park Hyatt Philadelphia at the Bellevue.

“We are delighted that Kweisi Mfume, a five-term Congressman and former President of the NAACP, has agreed to be the keynote speaker for our June Quarterly Luncheon,” Philadelphia Bar Association Chancellor Alan M. Feldman said. “He brings a unique and important perspective to the ongoing national debate about the preservation of civil liberties and individual rights in an era of heightened concern about national security issues.”

A lifelong champion of individual rights, Judge Higginbotham had a legal career that spanned nearly half a century. Since Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund, delivered the first Higginbotham lecture in 1999, notables such as Juan Williams, Charles J. Ogletree, Chaka Fattah and Cornel West have filled the role.

Mfume began his public service career in 1979 when he was elected to Baltimore City Council. During his seven years in local government, he led the efforts to diversify city government, improve community safety, enhance minority business development and divest city funds from the apartheid government of South Africa. Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives for Maryland’s 7th District in 1986, Mfume served on the Banking and Financial Services Committee, and held the ranking seat on the General Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee. He served as a member of the Committee on Education and as a senior member of the Small Business Committee and the Ethics Committee. He later chaired the Joint Economic Committee of the House and Senate and during his final term, he was the vice-chairman for Communications. Mfume also served as chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, and as the Caucus’ chair of the Task Force on Affirmative Action.

After serving five terms in Congress, Mfume resigned in 1996 to take over as the leader of the NAACP, a post he held for nine years. He is credited with restoring respect to the Association as well as instituting management and financial structures that led to an increase in endowment funds as well as a budget surplus.

In March 2005, Mfume announced his candidacy for the Senate seat currently held by Paul Sarbanes, who will retire this year after serving in the Senate since 1977. Mfume, a member of the Democratic Party, seeks to become the first African American to represent Maryland in the Senate.

Tickets to the luncheon are $50 for Association members and $55 for non-members. Purchase your ticket online today!

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