Aug 9, 2010 9:16 PM by Alison Haynes

1st of 2 SCLC conventions underway in Atlanta

ATLANTA (AP) - The Southern Christian Leadership Conference is
determined to carry on its social justice agenda despite a
distracting public feud.
Its board members battered and its fate still up to a judge, the
group's split board is having two conventions this week. Bernice
King, who was elected president of the civil rights organization in
October, will not take office as planned during the meetings and it
is unclear whether she will attend.
In the weeks leading up to the SCLC's annual meeting in Atlanta,
King has been more visible and has aligned herself with her
parents' legacy.
Last month, she spoke at a program to promote nonviolence among
Atlanta-area students at The King Center. Last week, she held a
prayer vigil calling for a unified SCLC to end the bickering. And
on Sunday, she preached at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where her
father, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., preached from 1960 until
his death in 1968.
The first convention began Saturday. Its theme focuses on the
Gulf oil spill as an issue of social justice.
The group is also focused on bringing itself back from bitter
infighting that has crippled the SCLC in recent months. Co-founded
by Rev. King, the group boasted more than 1 million members at its
height. The SCLC says it now has 10,000. About 100 people were at
the convention at a hotel outside of Atlanta on Monday.
SCLC Vice Chairman Bernard LaFayette, who worked alongside Rev.
King, said the organization has a goal to grow to 500,000 members
by the 2011 convention next summer and eventually return to its
peak membership during the civil rights movement. LaFayette said
special emphasis would be placed on recruiting students, especially
from the Gulf region.
A separate faction of the SCLC has organized a second
convention, to begin on Friday and focus on HIV/AIDS and the black

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