Area NAACP leaders hear about 'Power Beyond Measure' at Freedom

October 11, 2007|By BETHANY TREMBLAY, Herald-Mail Intern

The Washington County branch of the NAACP hosted its annual Freedom Fund dinner on Saturday, Oct. 6, to raise money for area student scholarships.

Debbie Singleton, secretary of the local branch, said the dinner was held at UAW Local 171 Union Hall in Hagerstown.

Woodrow Grant, branch chief of the Maryland State Department of Education, spoke on the topic, "Power Beyond Measure."

"He was a dynamic speaker," said Singleton, who noted that Grant's speech included a brief history of education and the founding of the NAACP in 1909.

Singleton said Grant talked about the NAACP's first member, Mary White Ovington, who joined the organization officially in 1914, wanting to further the "spirit of abolitionists," according to the organization's Web site.

Singleton said Grant spoke about the organization's name ? National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

"I know that this will shock many of you, but the NAACP has many members of color that are not African-American," she quoted Grant as saying. "He told us that white is a color, too."


Singleton said Grant explained the importance of people of all races becoming involved with the NAACP.

Grant, who serves as branch chief of equity assistance and compliance at the state Department of Education, got involved with civil rights at the end of the 1950s. He has also worked as a science teacher, NAACP youth director, a former NAACP president and with the United Nations Children's Fund in Liberia, West Africa.

In addition to Singleton, other members of the NAACP executive board in attendance were President Samuel Key, 1st Vice President Hampton Wedlock Jr., 2nd Vice President Russell Williams and Treasurer Marcia Saunders.

Singleton said Key presented members of the county NAACP executive board with plaques. Key in turn received a plaque from the members of the executive board.

Certificates were awarded to Hagerstown City Councilwoman Alesia Parson-McBean, UAW Local 171, the Recreation Center and Janet and Gordon Bartell.

Key presented Singleton and Marcia Saunders with Presidential Awards.

Singers Burnett Singleton Jr. and Leonard Cooper performed a musical tribute during the dinner.

Singleton said the amount of money raised would be announced soon. Tickets to the dinner sold for $35 each and groups of 10 could reserve tables. Singleton said approximately 70 to 80 tickets were sold.

People interested in obtaining information about the Washington County NAACP branch can contact Singleton at 240-420-5601 or or Key at 301-791-5271.

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