LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A Little Rock native who has worked for several nonprofits will be the first Arkansas director for the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights group.

The Washington-based Human Rights Campaign announced Monday it had hired Kendra Johnson as its state director as part of its $8.5 million Project One America campaign to promote LGBT equality in three southern states.

Johnson was born and raised in Little Rock and has worked at several nonprofits, including Better Community Development and the Women's Project. She has an undergraduate degree from Spelman College and a graduate degree from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Johnson's hiring was announced as court fights are underway at the federal and state level over Arkansas' ban on gay marriage.