Local NAACP holds annual banquet
By Nick Nunn
The Morgan County Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) held its 42nd Annual NAACP Freedom Fund Banquet last Saturday night at the Morgan County High School cafeteria. The highlight of the evening was the presentation given by the keynote speaker, Rev. Dr. Francys Johnson.
The theme of the banquet this year, “The Struggle is Not Over,” was reiterated by many of those who spoke during the event, beginning with Alex Coats, the master of ceremonies.
“We’ve come a long way,” began Coats, “but we still have a long way to go, and it starts right now.”
The official welcome for the banquet was given by Mamie Hilsman, who reminded the audience, “Don’t think that we have arrived, because we have not.”
After Hilsman’s welcome, honored members of the community including Fred Perriman, Ellen Warren, and Ralph Bennett were given time to greet the audience.
“Never before has your vote been more important than it is now,” urged Dr. Bennett during his short speech. “We still have a lot to do in education, too.”
Minister Ricky White gave the invocation before dinner. White assured those in attendance that if they, “pray what’s on [their] heart, then everything will be alright.”
After Laura Butler, the Morgan County Branch President, handed out the NAACP’s awards for the evening, Johnson arrived just before he was to begin his speech.
The theme of Johnson’s speech centered around this time in America’s history being a “crossroads.”
“There is no day in yesterday’s America that I want to live in,” said Johnson. “Tomorrow is what is in our hands – and God’s truth is marching on.”
“I believe we are witnessing the death of racism. It will not die quietly. It is kicking and screaming.”
“No lie can live forever, and it is being done away with for the whole world to see in a way that would make the founding fathers proud.”
Next, Johnson turned to the subject of education in America.
“Instead of us pointing the finger at others, we need to find the most talented, innovative, and gifted and give resources to them.”
“It is bad for everybody when the children who do go to school aren’t ready to engage in the type of critical education that can lead America into the future.”
But Johnson acknowledges that there must be an active campaign for change.
“You cannot have progress if you are not willing to endure struggle. We must engage this struggle. What are you demanding?”
“The progress of America will be put on display for the whole world to see,” insisted Johnson.
“I look forward to the day when we can take down the banner of the NAACP because racism has been eliminated in America.”
After concluding his speech, Johnson led the audience in singing “We Shall Overcome.”
Pastor G.C. Brown gave the benediction, ending the NAACP’s 2012 banquet by thanking all of those in attendance for coming.
In other news, on Nov. 1, the Morgan County Branch of the NAACP will have branch elections at St. Paul AME from 4-6 p.m. All branch members are encouraged to come and cast their vote for officers. The regular meeting will be held at the same location beginning at 6 p.m.
Printed in the November 1 2012 edition.