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The Charleston Branch NAACP Celebrates Its 96th Year of Service To Civil Rights
1/8/2014 4:41:57 PM

(left to right) Rev. Joseph A. Darby, Mrs. Cecelia Gordon Rogers, President Dot S. Scott, Mr. Hillary O. Shelton

The Charleston Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is the oldest and one of the largest Branches in the State of South Carolina. Each year, the Charleston Branch takes the time to celebrate the work done and to raise funds for the work of the all volunteer organizations through its Freedom Fund Banquet.

The 9th Annual Freedom Fund Banquet was held on Saturday, December 7, 2013 in the Crystal Ballroom of the Charleston Marriott Hotel. The Banquet was a well attended gala affair that spotlighted the work of the Charleston Branch and provided the opportunity to recognize citizens who have given exemplary service to the cause of human and civil rights.

WCSC personalities Debi Chard and The Reverend Randolph Miller served as Mistress and Master of Ceremonies, and music for the event was provided by the Curtis Inabinett group, featuring Curtis Inabinett, Jr. and Rhonda Bailey, and by the Charleston Development Academy Public Charter School Chorus, under the Direction of The Reverend Rodney Barrentine. The evening included remarks from several business and community leaders.

The keynote address was given by Mr. Hilary O. Shelton, Senior Vice-President for Advocacy and Policy for the National NAACP and Director of the NAACP’s Washington Bureau. Mr. Shelton chronicled the victories won by the American civil rights movement of the mid-twentieth century, but also noted that the work goes on and that there are still victories to be won. He said in describing he ongoing battle for freedom and justice, “This is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.”

Charleston Branch President Dot Scott also presented the 96th Annual Freedom Fund Banquet awards:

-The Trailblazer Award was presented in absentia to Mr. Benjamin Todd Jealous, the outgoing CEO of the National NAACP and youngest person to ever serve the organization in that capacity.

-The J. Arthur Brown Award was presented to the Honorable William Dudley Gregorie for his commitment to improve the entire community as a member of Charleston City Council.

-The Septima P. Clark Students Excelling in Education Award was presented to Mrs. Cecelia Gordon Rogers, the founding director of the Charleston Development Academy Public Charter School.

-A special Above and Beyond Award was presented to the Reverend Lawrence Bratton and the Bibleway Baptist Church for their solid and committed support of the work of the Charleston Branch.

-Special Recognition Awards were also given to Attorney Mark Tanenbaum and Ms. Linda Ketner for their years of service in helping to make previous Banquet corporate campaigns successful.

The Charleston Branch NAACP’s 96th Annual Freedom Fund Banquet successfully showed the work of the Charleston Branch, which is, in the words of President Dot S. Scott, “All volunteer - all the time.” President Scott also encouraged those present to support the Charleston Branch not only through its annual Banquet, but by becoming members and getting involved in the ongoing work of the Branch, for even in the 21st Century, “Freedom Is Not Free, Join the NAACP.”

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