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Rowan NAACP events to mark 30th anniversary

The Rowan-Salisbury Branch of the NAACP is celebrating its 30th anniversary and the national organization’s 100th with events Friday and Sunday.
The 15th Annual Harvest Banquet will be held Friday starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Holiday Inn on Jake Alexander Boulevard. And on Sunday, the local NAACP will conduct a special serve at Soldiers Memorial AME Zion Church.
The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, president of the North Carolina Conference of Branches of the NAACP will give the keynote address.
Barber also serves on the NAACP national board of directors. He is a cum laude graduate of N.C. Central University with a degree in political science and earned a master of divinity degree from Duke University and later a doctoral degree from Drew University in Madison, N.J.
Barber is senior pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church, where he has served 15 years. He is former chair of the N.C. Human Relations Commission and currently leads a nonprofit community development organization called Rebuilding Broken Places, which focuses on affordable single family housing, senior citizen housing, a job training center, affordable child care and inner city revitalization in Goldsboro.
An activist, he led in building a coalition of 81 organizations with more than 1 million affiliate members around a 14-point anti-race, anti poverty, anti-war agenda. Called HKonJ, the movement garnered state and national attention and has gathered more than 13,000 people, including 1,500 youth and college students, to march on Raleigh.
Barber is an author and has hosted two radio shows and has received many awards.
This celebration will also feature Joshua Geter, a 2009 NAACP Scholarship recipient, a saxophonist and Michael Connor, a professor of theater arts at Livingstone College, who will provide dramatic oratory from the works of W.E.B. Dubois and Frederick Douglass. Scholarship winners and other special guests will be recognized.
Dr. Bryant Norman, president of the Rowan-Salisbury NAACP, will make presentations for Community Service and Presidents Awards. The Harvest Banquet is the major fundraising activity for the local branch. Money raised supports scholarships to local high school students who want to attend two- or four-year colleges, the development of youth activities, required training for officers of the branch and general operations.
Tickets are still available at $60 per person in advance or $75 per person at the door. For tickets or more information, call 704-636-3654 or 704-637-0033.
The theme for the national NAACP anniversary is “100 years: Bold Dreams ń Big Victories!”
Sunday service
On Sunday, the Rowan-Salisbury NAACP will conduct worship, reflection and a call for rededication of purpose at a special service beginning at 4 p.m. at Soldiers Memorial AME Zion church.
The Bishop Joseph Johnson, a retired pastor of Soldiers Memorial, will deliver the address.
Johnson led the congregation and community in the rechartering of the Salisbury-Rowan NAACP branch 30 years ago and was the first president of the branch. He will be introduced by Dr. Grant Harrison, current pastor of Soldiers Memorial.
Born in Jacksonville, Fla., Johnson received his early education in Tampa, Fla. He completed his GED in the military, but continued his education by earning a bachelor’s degree from N.C. State University and Master of Divinity degree from Duke University School of Divinity, followed by a doctoral degree from Candler School of Theology at Emory University.
After serving as pastor of four African Methodist Episcopal Zion churches, he was elected and consecrated the 85th bishop in the AME Zion Church in August 1992. He retired in 2004 after pastoring for 28 years and serving as bishop for 12 years.
He has been a civil rights activist since the early 1960s, working on issues that included the closing of black schools, dismissal of black teachers and administrators following integration, apartheid in South Africa and the resurgence of the KKK in Greensboro. Most recently, he marched in protest against flying the Confederate Flag on state property in South Carolina. He has been a life member of the NAACP for over 20 years and a member for over 44 years.
A slide presentation prepared by Wanda Monroe-Morgan will document the history of the Rowan-Salisbury branch from 1979 to the present. It includes all past presidents, newspaper articles and activities though 30 years. Music will be provided by the Geter family and Rebecca Stinson.
Norman, president of the local branch, will serve as master of ceremonies. Following the program, refreshments will be served in the church fellowship hall.
The program is free and the public is invited to attend, though an offering is requested.
For more information, contact Kay Norman at 704-636-3654.

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