The local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People will honor three people who have devoted much of their lives to helping others.
The work of Williams Woods Jr., Arthur Herod and Ethel Young-Minor will be celebrated at the NAACP’s Freedom Fund Banquet later this month. The banquet is one of several new local events the recently revitalized NAACP chapter has planned for the community.
Ruth Ball, president of the NAACP chapter, said the awards dinner is the first one the chapter has held since reorganizing in May of last year, but chapter members plan to make it an annual affair.
The dinner will be held at 7 p.m. March 15 at the Lafayette Civic Center. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children 3 to 12 years old. Dress is semi-formal.
During the banquet, Woods, the East St. Peter’s Missionary Baptist Church’s pastor; Herod, an Abbeville native; and Young-Minor, associate professor of English and senior fellow at the Luckyday Residential College at the University of Mississippi; will be recognized for their work in the community and civil rights activities.
Young-Minor was notified Monday about the special presentation involving her at the banquet.
“I am surprised, thankful and humbled that the award committee saw anything about my life that they deemed worthy of recognition,” she said Monday.
“We have many amazing pioneers in Lafayette County that are worthy of this recognition, so I do not take the honor lightly.”
In 2005, Mississippi lawmakers passed a resolution honoring Young-Minor’s work to promote diversity. And in 2011, Young-Minor became the first African-American awarded the University of Mississippi Outstanding Teaching Award.
Ball said all three of the recipients have dedicated a large part of their lives promoting diversity and improving their communities.
The local NAACP chapter has been established for years in Lafayette County but membership dropped off. In May, a group of concerned Lafayette County citizens decided the Oxford-Lafayette NAACP needed to come back to life and make a difference in the lives of all people in the community, regardless of race.
“We believe all citizens should be treated equally,” Ball said. “No one is greater in God’s eye than anyone else.”
Recent racially charged issues at UM and a rash of unsolved murders in Lafayette County involving mostly young black men has served to remind members of the local NAACP that the chapter is needed in the community.
“It all validates that it is important that we are active in the community again,” Ball said. “We need to be here serving the community.”
Young-Minor said she’s excited to see the chapter and its renewed efforts to become active in the community.
“The NAACP has a long record of being at the forefront of civil rights issues that impact people of diverse races, colors and creeds,” Young-Minor said. “I grew up knowing the importance of the NAACP as a child. My father served as president of the NAACP chapter at LeMoyne College and our family was close to the family of Benjamin Hooks, who served as national president of the NAACP from 19771992. I am so happy to see their legacy thriving in our area and being passed along to yet another generation.”
For more information or to purchase tickets, call Ball at 662-934-1459.