The Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP is proud to announce a series of events in October to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the branch’s founding.
The events include a community read-in (Oct. 8), walk/bike event (Oct. 15), founding day gathering (Oct. 23) and a celebratory 75th Diamond Anniversary Gala at 7:00 p.m. on Oct. 22 at the Sheraton Chapel Hill.
The gala – an occasion to celebrate the branch’s achievements, honor living past presidents and keep an eye toward the future of justice and equality – will be hosted by University of North Carolina basketball legend Phil Ford and feature entertainment by Liquid Pleasure, a Chapel Hill-based band that has been bringing audiences to their feet for more than 40 years.
"Marking this 75th Anniversary allows us to acknowledge and honor the efforts of those who endured Jim Crow and the battle for Civil Rights in our community,” Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP President Dawna Jones says. “Their sacrifices created opportunities for us, and we are grateful. It’s also a time to set an agenda to combat inequalities of opportunity existing today. The NAACP mission remains relevant, and we are resolute in our commitment to continue the legacy."
On the branch’s anniversary website, www.naacp75.com, community members can learn more about the events, purchase gala tickets, and explore sponsorship and advertising opportunities that directly support the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP’s mission of ensuring the political, educational, social and economic equality rights of all people and eliminate race-based discrimination.
Through organized and accountable advocacy, the branch works to empower communities of color and other marginalized groups to transform Chapel Hill and Carrboro into racially just and equitable communities.
As of this date, major sponsors already include Carol Woods, UNC Health and Grubb Properties.
“We’re thrilled to have these organizations from our community committed to supporting the mission of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP,” Jones says. “And we look forward to even more engagement from our local businesses and others in supporting this special series of events."
The Chapel Hill-Carrboro branch of the NAACP first convened on Oct. 23, 1947, at what is now the Hargraves Center. Among the first officers elected by members was A.D. Clark, president and eventual namesake of the swimming pool at Hargraves; as well as a future town council member, Hubert Robinson; a beloved teacher, Ruth Pope; and a future small business owner, Lucy Edwards.
The early meetings of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP 75 years ago took place at a rotation of meaningful locations: the Community Center (now Hargraves), Saint Joseph CME Church, First Baptist Church (then Rock Hill Baptist), and Second Baptist Church.
Nineteen forty-seven was a time of tension and change in America, especially in the South. Chapel Hill was no different. Black American soldiers were coming back from fighting a war against oppression and genocide in Europe, where they personally experienced better treatment than they were used to, only to return to familiar racial tyranny here at home.
There have been advances and setbacks over the decades, and the branch will use its 75th anniversary events to both honor the work of the past and also focus on the opportunity to build a community where all can thrive.