UTAH

Russell M. Nelson to speak at NAACP convention

Jul 18, 2019, 5:31 AM
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FILE - In this April 19, 2019 file photo The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints President Russell M. Nelson speaks during a news conference at the Temple Square South Visitors Center in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ top leader has been invited to speak at the NAACP convention in Detroit, marking the latest sign of a burgeoning partnership between the two organizations.

The Utah-based faith said in a news release Wednesday that president Russell M. Nelson will speak Sunday. A lower-level church leader spoke at the NAACP convention last year.

The two organizations had their official meeting between national leaders in May 2018, calling afterward for greater racial harmony.

The religion barred blacks from the lay priesthood until 1978. That ban was rooted in the belief that black skin was a curse, and lingers as one of the most sensitive topics in the religion’s history.

Scholars estimate that black people make up about 3% of the 6.6 million church members in the U.S.

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Russell M. Nelson to speak at NAACP convention