Freedom Fund Committee 2018 Annual Report
2018 being the 100th Anniversary of the founding of the Terre Haute Branch of the NAACP meant celebrating the Branch, its’ history, former leaders, former friends and highlighting many of the branch’s achievements. After much planning, the Freedom Fund Banquet was held on Saturday, 17-November-2018 at the MCL Banquet Center in the Meadows Mall in Terre Haute, IN.
More than 140 individuals attended the banquet and enjoyed the wonderful cafeteria dinner and celebratory program. Each attendee was given a coaster commemorating the 100th Year Anniversary of the Branch. The theme for the event was Celebrating 100 Years in Terre Haute … “Lest We Forget”
One highlight of the program was the Roll Call Ceremony – “Lest We Forget … “, a recalling of the History of the Terre Haute NAACP (1918 – 2018). This segment, led by past president, A Theressa Bynum, recalled the names of many past and present members and friends along with their many contributions to the history of the Branch and to Terre Haute, IN; while each table of the audience participated by chanting words and or phrases representing or recalling issues of the times. It was a very moving part of the evening. So moving was this segment, it is worth reporting here the entire text of the various chants for the tables:
- Lest We Forget:
- The early founders and activists who stepped out on faith to improve the lives of African American who were fighting for equal rights and equal access;
- The courageous men and women, interracial and interfaith, stood together and spoke out against bigotry to challenge racial barriers;
- The brave community activists who were inspired to strengthen the civil rights movement with their resources of time, funds, influence, openly confronting segregated facilities in the South and locally;
- The dedicated volunteers who worked tirelessly to eliminate racial discrimination, law enforcement, criminal justice system, and voting, as well as equality of opportunities for all persons;
- That today, the Greater Terre Haute NAACP Branch stands on the shoulders and legacy of one hundred years of accomplishments by champions for freedom who worked together; now facing an unsettling mood of racial unrest in America that, if unchecked, would see us back in slavery.
So, the struggle continues. We still have much work to do. We know how to do it.
We Shall Overcome
(After each “Lest We Forget” segment, the names of individual from the history of the Branch were read from the first President of the Branch, Daisy Hood, to the current President of the Branch, Sylvester Edwards. The complete list of names cited, along with some of their contributions to the history of the Branch and/or the Wabash Valley will be provided in a planned Historical text being researched and documented for publication at a later date.)
Special Awards were presented to Crystal Reynolds for her historical research into the history of the Branch and James Flinn for his research into the life of Evangeline Harris Merriweather which resulted in the placement in 2018 of an Evangeline Harris Merriweather Historical marker on the campus of Indiana State University.
We also acknowledged our many supporters and table sponsors including: First Financial Bank; Vigo County School Corporation; Minority Health Coalition of Vigo County; Central Christian Church; Alpha Zeta Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc; Indiana State University; Spruce Street AME Church; Drucella Thomas; Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church; St John Missionary Baptist Church; Terre Haute Human Relations Commission; and Chances and Services for Youths.
All expenses for the Freedom Fund Banquet have been paid. And, although there are a few outstanding invoices for tables and individual reservations, we can report that the event was a financial success.
Comment heard by members of the Executive Committee suggested that the Freedom Fund Banquet was enjoyed by all those in attendance. It was indeed a glorious event
The members of the Freedom Fund Committee are:
- A Theressa Bynum
- Sylvester Edwards
- Jeanne Rewa
- Oscar Session
- Drucella Thomas
The 2018 Freedom Fund Committee
John E Lang, Chair
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