The NAACP has chosen San Antonio to host its 109th annual convention in July 2018, officials announced Friday.
Mayor Ivy Taylor, NAACP Board Vice Chairman Leon Russell, and other organization leaders announced the city’s selection at the Barbara Jordan Community Center, the home base of San Antonio’s chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. It will be the first time San Antonio, a city with a black population of just 7%, has hosted the NAACP convention.
The annual meeting of the nation’s oldest civil rights group is expected to bring more than 10,000 people to the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center and generate up to $10 million in economic impact, according to Visit San Antonio, the city’s nonprofit tourism body.
“As a lifetime member of the NAACP and mayor of the city of San Antonio, I’m excited to see [this] coming together for such a big event during a historic year,” Taylor stated in a news release. “The NAACP is about civil rights, inclusion and advancement of equality, and I believe that San Antonio is about all those things, too.”
The seven-day convention is a major political event that features a slate of distinguished speakers. Past speakers have included President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, former President Bill Clinton and Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
The 2018 speaker lineup and convention theme will be announced at a later date.
Next year is already shaping up to be a momentous year for San Antonio. The NAACP Convention will coincide with San Antonio’s Tricentennial festivities, which will feature numerous events celebrating the city’s history throughout the year .
San Antonio also will host the NCAA men’s basketball Final Four, expected to bring $135 million to the local economy, and the Risk Insurance Management Society conference, the largest insurance convention in the world.
The year also marks the 100th anniversary of the NAACP San Antonio.
“What a proud moment for the San Antonio branch to celebrate 100 years of advocacy for freedom, justice, and equality in this community,” stated Minnie Hill, NAACP San Antonio member and chair of the 2018 convention, in a news release. “It is truly a dream come true to share this historic occasion of hosting the National NAACP Convention and showcasing the beautiful, diverse City of San Antonio on a worldwide stage.”
The announcement comes during DreamWeek, a 16-day summit designed to promote tolerance, equality, and diversity through various programming. On Monday, Jan. 16, San Antonio will host its annual Martin Luther King Jr. March, consistently one of the largest MLK marches in the country.