benw@ledger-enquirer.comJune 22, 2013 

Edward DuBose, president of the Georgia Conference NAACP, won't seek a fifth term when the 71st Annual Georgia State Conference Convention & Civil Rights Conference is held in Columbus this fall.

"It's time," DuBose said Saturday outside the Columbus branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People on First Avenue. "A good leader has to know when it's time. A leader has to know, like Moses did, when to pass the torch. It's time for me to pass the torch to a Joshua."

DuBose was standing with more than a dozen local and state officials announcing the Oct. 3-6 conference, when he used the Bible story to describe why he's giving up the leadership position at the state conference.

Columbus was up against Macon and Savannah to host the conference, but DuBose wanted to leave office in the city where it all started for him. The NAACP delegation supported his wishes. An NAACP convention was previously held in Columbus in 2000 and 2003.

"People honored my wishes of wanting to close out where I started," said DuBose, who served as local branch president before moving to the state. "I'm so grateful that I'm able to close out saying goodbye to the home crowd."

DuBose said he was eligible to seek another term but thought it was time to leave. "I will actually be stepping down after eight years of serving the state," he said. "You all will get to see first-hand in this community who is the new state conference and who the leaders will be."

The convention is expected to draw 200-300 delegates to the Columbus Convention & Trade Center where there will be workshops on a wide range of topics. With people from the community, the conference could attract at least 500.

The gathering will bring together leaders from the state and Columbus to conduct training and focus on issues that not only affect Columbus, but the state, DuBose said.

Health care, challenges to the Voting Rights Act, ed

ucation and black-on-black crime are among some major topics for discussion.

"We expect to have workshops that deal with how people navigate through this health care legislation that is reality now," DuBose said. "How do we understand moving forward?"

DuBose said a Supreme Court decision is expected any day on a challenge by Shelby County, Ala., to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Acts. Alabama and 15 other states must get pre clearance on changes to elections.

"We will talk about the effects of moving Section 5 from the Voting Rights Act and how it impacts African Americans even in this community," DuBose said. Columbus has reduced its voting precincts by half, he said.

Nate Sanderson, president of the Columbus branch of the NAACP, said he will hold community forums to address some local issues two days before the convention. Some elected state officials want to talk about the expungement law that goes into effect July 1.

"It will be very crucial to the black community because we have a lot of people who don't understand that they can come and get their record expunged and they can restore their voting rights," he said.

The forums will be held in one of the local churches or libraries.

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