NAACP “Always Fighting Forward”

Thomas Roberts, President of the Ohio Conference of the NAACP was the keynote speaker at the Annual Freedom Fund Dinner given by the NAACP at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel on October 21, 2021. Roberts emphasized that the song “Lift Every Voice and Sing, ” was written for the current generation because it talked about African Americans “gloomy past,” but highlighted the “faith, hope and belief in God” which allowed them to survive to the present day. He recalled many books and writers who were an inspiration to him if he were to write a book i.e. Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream Speech.” He encouraged the audience to read the beginning of the speech where Dr. King stated that “America has given the Negro people a bad check: a check which has come back “insufficient funds,” or James Baldwin’s Fire Next Time, where he spoke of a letter that Baldwin sent to his nephew to warn him about what he might face when going out into the world or “The Talk.” He stated that Frances E. Kendall’s White Privilege gave examples of how white people resisted the knowledge of their privilege and Carol Anderson’s White Rage, demonstrated how every gain made by African Americans was greeted by resistance. Roberts said Paul Lawrence Dunbar’s statement that “…we wear a mask” in order to face the realities of living in America was true today and W.E. DuBois’ theoretical concept “Dual Consciousness” was also displayed by blacks in order to operate in a white dominated world. He said African Americans’ uniqueness gave them the ability to live in a world with differing standards and inequalities. Roberts stated that racism was generational, but the NAACP was “The Oldest, Boldest and Baddest,” organization in the world and they would always deal with the issues of the day and would respond to problem after problem in order to create a more perfect union. The organization acquired 32 new memberships during the Annual Freedom Fund Dinner.

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