NAACP Week celebration opens with feast

The 100th anniversary of the organization is Thursday.
MU NAACP members Lysaundra Campbell, Marcedes LeGrone and Whitney Williams prepare dishes Sunday for the 100 Year Feast. The group will hold a week of events to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the NAACP.

The NAACP MU chapter began a week of events Sunday that recognizes the centennial of its national organization with a celebratory feast at the Gaines/Oldham Black Culture Center.

The feast featured homemade dishes made by the club's members and was one of six days of events the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People will host in honor of the organization's anniversary. Student Programmer Anthony Martin said the dinner was meant to replicate the African-American tradition of having a large family dinner after church.

"The different events represent all the different traditions of African-American life," Martin said.

He said this week would be dedicated to recognizing African-American culture and the people who worked to build the NAACP up during the days of open discrimination in the U.S.

"Anything that's been around 100 years is monumental," Martin said. "It has a lot of history, and all the people who worked in it are the people who made the U.S. what it is."

Freshman Whitney Williams said she was glad to be part of the historical celebration.

"I'm just glad to be part of this and be able to see where we have come from," Williams said.

NAACP MU chapter President Brian Washington said Sunday's feast was open to the public as an opportunity for the larger MU community to get to know the group and its goals.

"The feast is pretty much going to be a social event with good food and a chance for people to get to know us and what we have planned for the rest of the year," Washington said.

Among those things, Washington said he wanted to hold an event aimed at increasing awareness of sexual health issues, particularly in the minority community.

Washington said the group would want to pose a question "toward the minority community about things that we feel are hindering us, things we need to call upon within ourselves."

He said the club would also host its sixth annual Image Awards in the spring. Those awards, modeled after the NAACP's national Image Awards, recognize the most outstanding members and organizations in the minority community. Washington said the ceremonies will start April 26 and are something in which he takes particular pride.

"That's one of our marquee things, one of the things we are and I am definitely proud of," Washington said.

The week of events will feature forums on economic responsibility and racial epithets as well as a campus-wide event Thursday aimed at honoring the organization's history of sacrifice. During that day, which is the actual anniversary day, members will wear black in recognition of "100 Years of Blood, Sweat and Tears."

Washington said local NAACP chapters would be celebrating the anniversary throughout the spring, culminating in the national organization's celebration in June. He said this week would be the group's chance to remember the work of the NAACP's founders and the traditions of the African-American community.

"It's more like paying homage to the traditions," Washington said. "Some things are modeled after things that are done nationally, and this week, we're trying to pay honor and tribute to them."

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