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NAACP leader to speak

Feb. 15, 2001

Republicans tout 'unique' speaker for his conservatism



College Republicans invite 'people of every political persuasion' to hear Shannon Reeves, the president of the Oakland, Calif., Chapter of the NAACP, speak at 7 p.m. on Tuesday in Kayser Auditorium in the Hankamer School of Business.

Reeves' lecture is titled 'Where Black America goes from Here.'

'Mr. Reeves has very unique conservative views,' said Thomas Castleberry, a Coppell sophomore and chairman of the speakers committee of College Republicans. 'He's one of the only high-ranking members of the NAACP that is Republican. That makes him unique.'

John Waters, a Pensacola, Fla., freshman and president of College Republicans, said one of the College Republicans' goals is 'to bring conservative idealists to campus to tell more of what we're about; someone who reflects our ideologies, and Shannon Reeves is a great example of that.'

Reeves' lecture is also intended to commemorate Black History Month. Garland senior Joshua Flynt said College Republicans were 'interested in doing something for Black History Month and thought Shannon Reeves would be ideal for it.'

Waters said 'because it's Black History Month, we want to show that the Republican Party is not a party of the rich white man, [but also] that African Americans have a part in the party as well.'

College Republicans were able to bring Reeves to Baylor by working through the Young America's Foundation, an organization in Washington, D.C., that helps student groups bring conservative speakers to college campuses.

'Young America's is a great foundation,' Flynt said. '[Young America's Foundation] is paying for Mr. Reeves' travel expenses and speaking fee.'

Reeves first showed an interest in politics while an undergraduate at Grambling State University. Reeves' first major involvement in a national campaign was as an intern during the Rev. Jesse Jackson's 1988 presidential campaign.

Reeves is also founder, chairman, and CEO of Freedom Fund Inc., a multi-million dollar non-profit corporation dedicated to recovering blighted urban areas and providing relief. Freedom Fund Inc. works with the private sector in inner-city commercial ventures, reinvesting all profits from its endeavors into the communities in which it does business.

'We're always looking for someone who has a good story to tell,' Flynt said. 'Mr. Reeves has a fascinating story. He has a very strong commitment as an entrepreneur, he's helped renew the inner cities, he's done great work for the community.'

Flynt said he hopes Reeves will 'spark a debate on campus and get people to think about something new and exciting.'

'Some people may not like what he has to say; we expect that,' Flynt said. 'He has a very alternative view to what we always hear. They may not agree, but at least they'll have the opportunity to hear a different point of view. He'll challenge College Republicans as well as the liberal students that show up. We'll be happy to cram as many people into Kayser as we can.'

Castleberry says he hopes people will 'come away with new views on politics and black America.'

'In general, [we hope] to bring in views that aren't commonly expressed on campus and make people think about politics and about America,' Castleberry said.

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