The 103rd Annual National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Convention that was hosted in Houston this past week (July 7-12, 2012) brought back some wonderful memories of my family’s strong involvement (particularly my dad) with the NAACP during the 1950’s through the mid 1980’s. The purpose of this organization and assistance from its Legal Defense Fund were the driving forces behind my dad and others being the leaders of a class action law suit against the discriminatory practices of the labor seniority system at Houston Armco Steel Corporation — John TAYLOR et al., Plaintiffs, Alfred James et Al., Intervenors v. ARMCO STEEL CORPORATION et al., Defendants (1973).
Dad was a member of the NAACP Houston Branch Finance Committee along with Monica Kelley, Walter Brown, Sam Polk, and Sam Davis (see photo below).
He was a long time active member of the Houston Northeast Branch (see photo below).
While cleaning up the book shelf last week, I came across his pocket-size Constitution and By-Laws handbook . . .
FOR THE ADVANCEMENT
OF COLORED PEOPLE
New York, NY 10019
(As amended at the 51st Annual NAACP Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, June 1960)
An annual fundraiser and black-tie gala hosted by the Houston NAACP since 1967 has been its Freedom Fund Dinner (which I understand originated with our first African American Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall). Below is a quick snapshot of my dad’s Freedom Fund Dinner souvenir book from the 13th annual event on 22 February 1980!
Annual Houston NAACP
Freedom Fund Dinner
Theme: Now Is The Time To
Count Our Friends
Friday February 22, 1980 7:30 p.m.
Houston Marriot Hotel
1750 West Loop
This Book Is Dedicated To Mr. George T. Nelson
and Mrs. Christia V. Adair
Fresh Fruit Cocktail
Tossed Green Salad
Baked Potato with Sour Cream
Green Beans Amandine
Rolls and Butter
Master of Ceremonies: Weldon H. Berry, Esq.
Junior Life Member:
Elks Antler Guards
Lift Every Voice & Sing
Accompanist, Rosemary McGowan
Billie J. Smith
Honorable Jim McConn
Mayor of Houston
Introduction of Speaker
Dr. Rawls Andrews
Dr. Benjamin L. Hooks
Executive Director, NAACP
Presentation of Awards
Honorable Gabriel McDonald
Honorable U.S. District Judge John Peavy, Jr.
Helen L. Johnson
Introduction of Special Guests
Lift Every Voice And Sing
National Negro Hymn
James Weldon Johnson R. Rosamond Johnson
Lift every voice and sing, till earth and Heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise, high as the listening skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us;
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
Let us march on till victory is won.
Stony the road we trod, bitter the chastening rod,
Felt in the days when hope unborn had died;
Yet with a steady beat, have not our weary feet,
Come to the place for which our fathers sighed?
We have come over a way that with tears has been watered,
We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered;
Out from the gloomy past, till now we stand at last
Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.
God of our weary years, God of our silent tears,
Thou Who hast brought us thus far on the way;
Thou Who hast by Thy might, led us into the light,
Keep us forever in the path, we pray.
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee.
Lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee.
Shadowed beneath Thy hand, may we forever stand,
True to our God, true to our native land.
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