Tuesday, May 21, 2019

NAACP 39th Freedom Fund Banquet Held

NAACP 39th Freedom Fund Banquet Held

By Elmetra Patterson
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L to R: Elmetra Patterson, Volunteer of the Year Award, NAACP President Dean Miller

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L to R: Frank Taylor, the Vernon Dahmer Award, and Elmetra Patterson

c:\Users\Elmetra\Documents\Ivan D. Harrell, SSG.jpg          c:\Users\Elmetra\Documents\Wilbert D. Holmes, SFC.jpg
  SSG Ivan D. Harrell, National Guard                 SFC Wilbert D. Holmes, National Guard

The 39th Annual Freedom Fund Banquet of the Winston County Branch NAACP was held at the Mt. Olive Bethel Harmony District Association Building on Saturday, April 27, 2019. The building was packed with NAACP members, guest, elected officials and those running for elected positions. Police Chief L. M. Claiborne, who is retiring, was the Master of Order. He received praises for his service to the City of Louisville. The Honorable Will Hill sent a welcome from the city by Vice Mayor Eugene Crosby. The Honorable Julie Cunningham, Chancery Clerk, who is retiring also, brought greetings from Winston County.

President Dean Miller proudly greeted the crowd, “I consider it a high honor and privilege to serve as the president of the Winston County Branch of the NAACP and I warmly welcome you. Keeping our mission as a guidepost, we continue to work in many different facets to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of right for all persons, as well as to eliminate race-based discrimination. Together we have made significant strides in furthering causes that positively impact our community, such as providing free school supplies to area children, cultivating our youth in the Afro-Academic Cultural Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) supporting our community by encouraging social and political awareness and action, as well as working with community leaders to ensure that our national strategic plan can be translated locally to benefit all residents of Winston County. This great work cannot be done without the hands, the hearts, and prayers of people like you. On behalf of the Executive Committee, I salute you for your steadfast support. Thank you for your attendance tonight.”

Entertainment was performed by the NAACP youth – The fabulous Sunshine Boys and Maya Clay, the 2019 Valedictorian of Louisville High School dramatized a poem. The Prince Voices of Victory sang the Negro National Anthem, Lift Every Voice and Sing.

Awards were presented by President Dean Miller and 1st Vice President Mother Anita Terrell.

1) Elmetra Patterson-Littleton received the Volunteer of the Year Award given to the individual who volunteers their time to help carry out the mission and vision of the Winston County Branch NAACP. This award was specifically for her work with the Friends of Dean Park, Inc. (FODP) which maintaining the landscape of Dean Park, which also includes partnering with other organizations for causes and teaching gardening skills and landscaping to seniors and children. She serves as the host agency supervisor for a grant from the Senior Community Service Employment (SCSEP) federal government program for seniors. This program is managed by The National Caucus and Center on Black Aging, Inc. (NCBA). She and Dr. Richard Moncrief have trained seniors to be landscape assistants for nearly 11 years in this program. She is a member of the Winston County Master Gardeners Association. She, also, received the award for the Black History Month Exhibit at the Winston County Library that she curates yearly according to the National theme of the year. She is involved in voters’ registration and voters’ education. She writes articles for the local news media and assures that the TV Stations get press releases about positive activities and people in Winston County especially as it relates to African Americans.

2) Frank Taylor received The Vernon Dahmer Award presented to the individual, institution, or organization contributing most to both the youth and adult citizens of the African American community. This award is for his years as Team Leader of the Winston County Self-Help Coalition (WCSHC). Frank has provided outstanding leadership in the field of agriculture to help permeate positive change from within the community. WCSHC is based in Louisville, MS. According to Frank, its purpose is to save rural America and leave a legacy for future generations. Many small farmers in Winston and surrounding counties have benefited from his leadership. The youth have learned from the yearly Saving Rural America Conference that is held in January of each year. Frank Taylor was inducted into the Alcorn University’s School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences Alumni Hall of Fame on August 17, 2018. The star studded event occurred at the Jackson Convention Complex in downtown Jackson, MS. He was among eleven inductees.

3) SFC Wilbert D. Holmes of Louisville and SSG Ivan D. Harrell of Starkville received an award in honor, appreciation and recognition of their military service in the National Guard. They belong to Company F-106, 2nd 114 Field Artillery Battalion. SFC Holmes graduated from Louisville High School in 1994 and has 24 years in the National Guard. He is the son-in-law of President Dean Miller being the spouse of Chiquita Long. They have one daughter. SSG Harrell has been National Guard for 12 years. Their plaque read that their dedication serves as an example for us all.

The guest speaker was introduced by Charles Hampton, former Mississippi State Conference NAACP and former president of the Winston County Branch NAACP. Speaker Scott Colom, was elected District Attorney for Circuit Court District Sixteen, which includes Lowndes, Oktibbeha, Clay and Noxubee counties in 2015. His speech was centered on the ideology of two African American men – Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. Dubois – and their importance in American history. Jaiden Clemons, a freshman of Louisville High School entertained during Dinner.

The evening ended with remarks by Carolyn Hampton, Banquet Chairperson and President Dean Miller. Benediction was by Minister Bernard O’Neal of Hope Mission Ministries.

(All photos by Elton Rash of NeeCreations Photography, Noxapater, MS)