By: Larry Sutton Contributing columnist
October 20, 2013
On the even of the Sampson County Barnch of the NAACP’s annual Freedom Fund Banquet on Saturday, Nov. 2 at 6 p.m. at the Sampson County Agri-Exposition Center, the local chapter is making preparations to celebrate the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People remains the strongest national voice in the fight for equality on every front.
That fight for equality took on a new urgency in the first decade of the 20th century at a time when African Americans were at the nadir in American society and were a “rejected, despised people” according to Professor Edgar A Toppin, author of “The Black American in United States History.”
It was during this time that an interracial group of progressive Americans called for a national conference to focus the nation’s attention on the need to extend to all Americans the freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution. This meeting, on the centennial of the birth of Abraham Lincoln, Feb. 12, 1909, in New York City led to the founding of the NAACP.
These progressive reformers felt the time had come “to assail the ears of America” and to put more light on America’s most troubling social problem — race relations. So, the basic aim of the NAACP was “to make 11,000,000 Americans physically free from peonage, mentally free from ignorance, politically free from disfranchisement and socially free from insult,” aiming for nothing less than full equality among the races.
It was the NAACP, acting as an advocate on every front, that led the way in the assault against bigotry and injustice, exposing the eroding and oppressive effects of prejudice and Jim Crow, while opening doors in the process.
Historically, the NAACP’s progress has been due to its many m embers who are organized into state and local branches, working to carry out the aims of the national organization.
At this year’s Freedom Fund Banquet, the speaker will be Dr. Jarvis A. Hall, formerly of Clinton, who is currently an associate professor of political science at North Carolina Central University.
Organizers of the banquet are expecting to receive support from many sectors of our community life, including governmental, religious, civic and business groups. In support of the NAACP’s work, it is evident that as a nation the “gap between our recorded aspirations and actual practices” has narrowed considerably, but the march for freedom continues.
We seem to be far on our way to realizing that we’re all in this together, believing that “the welfare of one group can only be maintained through assuring the welfare of another.”
If you are “someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people,” then there’s room for you in the NAACP.
In whatever way we can, let’s all support the Sampson County NAACP Branch Freedom Fund Banquet as we “still strive to become a more perfect nation.”
It’s never too late to renew our faith in America’s promise.