Members and friends of the Alexandria Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People gathered Sunday night to hold the group’s 73rd Life Membership and Awards Banquet at the Mark Hilton. Howard Woodson, president of the organization, praised the NAACP’s triumphs and challenged civil rights advocates to remain vigilant about the struggle for equality.
“Our branch has come a long way in its short 74-year history,” Woodson wrote in a welcome letter printed in the banquet’s program. “Yet we still have a long way to go before we can truly say that all of our citizens enjoy liberty and justice.”
WHUR radio host Triscina Gray acted as master of ceremonies for the program, which included an invocation from the Rev. Donald Hayes, pastor of Oakland Baptist Church, and the presentation of several awards. Carlton Funn received the president’s award; U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-8) and U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) received distinguished service awards; and Lindsey Vick, Lenwood Harris and Howard Woodson received community service awards.
“We are a creative people rich in ideas, strong in determination and abundantly gifted in enriching our lives and those around us,” said Mayor Bill Euille in his welcome from the city. “Let us continue to strive and achieve new heights, to uplift our souls and to raise our hands to give thanks for those who paved the way for the blessings we enjoy today.”