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Students who earn the NAACP’s Amos C. Brown Student Fellowship to Ghana to study the Atlantic slave trade will read a talk by President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

President Nelson announced the fellowship during a joint press conference last year with the NAACP. He also announced the church would provide $250,000 to fund the project in the name of his friend, the Rev. Amos C. Brown, a Civil Rights leader and former student of Martin Luther King Jr.

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The Rev. Brown was involved in planning the fellowships, but he was surprised by President Nelson’s announcement during the press conference that they would be named for him.

“I am peacock proud, hyena happy and elephant elated,” he said afterward.

The NAACP is accepting applications for 50 fellowships until March 25. The fellows will spend 10 days in Ghana from July 31 to Aug. 10.

“They will be immersed in Ghanaian culture, learn about the Atlantic slave trade and receive deep insights into their ancestral lineage,” according to the NAACP’s application site.

The learning experiences will equip the students to build bridges between communities and become social justice leaders and ambassadors for racial justice, the application says.

The site includes a reading list for all participants that includes President Nelsons’ talk at the 2019 NAACP convention in Detroit, Michigan. In it, he said the church wanted to become dear friends with the African American community.

“Simply stated, we strive to build bridges of cooperation rather than walls of segregation,” President Nelson said.

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Here is the complete reading list for fellowship winners:

Applicants must be NAACP members between the ages of 18 and 25 by July 1, 2022, and live in the United States.

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Behind the scenes

This photo is full of personality. The Rev. Amos C. Brown has all the Latter-day Saint and NAACP leaders laughing during the June 14, 2021, press conference announcing $9.25 million in donations from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for humanitarian aid and scholarships for the African American community. And President Russell M. Nelson strikes a typical figure, sitting forward on the edge of his seat.

The Rev. Amos C. Brown, senior pastor of the Third Baptist Church of San Francisco and president of the NAACP branch in San Francisco, discusses a new partnership between the NAACP and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during a press conference at the Church Administration Building in Salt Lake City on Monday, June 14, 2021. The partnership will provide $6 million in humanitarian aid over three years to inner cities in the United States, $3 million in scholarship donations over as many years to the United Negro College Fund, and a fellowship to send up to 50 students to Ghana to learn about Black American and African history. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News