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Local News

Tuesday, 29 April, 2008 10:47 PM

Sold-Out NAACP Dinner Featured Controversial Speaker Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Jr.

PHOTO BY LAUREN FANT / ©AMERICAJR.com

Keynote speaker Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Jr. stands next to Rev. Wendell Anthony, President of the Detroit Branch of the NAACP.

by Lauren Fant
ar4132@wayne.edu

DETROIT -- Every year on the fourth Sunday of April, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) holds the largest attended formal dinner in the state. This year’s dinner was held at Cobo Conference Center in Downtown Detroit. Rev. Wendell Anthony, who is the President of the Detroit Branch of the NAACP, stated that of the other 52 years, this year’s dinner was among the first where people were walking up to the entrance asking to purchase tickets because of the speaker.

With the year’s theme being “A Change is Going to Come”, Rev. Wendell Anthony made it clear that with the theme set, the speaker was selected by who would be the best to convey this concept and what will move us forward. Rev. Anthony stated that Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Jr. was “the hottest brother in the United States right now.”

A Freedom Fund weekend takes place before the dinner, which is sponsored by the Freedom Institute. The Arts & Poster contest is available for any student to apply for scholarships in local school districts from the elementary to high school levels. This year’s topic was “What the Civil Rights struggle means to me?” Many submissions were received, especially from the Detroit Public Schools district according to Dr. Joyce Tibbs, who is the Director of Curriculum and Development.

“I enjoyed reading many of the essays, but didn’t select the finalists,” said Tibbs. “Many of the students referenced their essays to family members who were involved in the civil rights struggle, history of the civil rights movement, and historical black leaders (Dr. King, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, etc.). They were really good and I am proud of our winners in the district.”

There were two 1st place winners from the Detroit Public School district in the elementary and high school levels.

“This year was one of the biggest years in the history for the Detroit branch because of the sold out ticket sales and the publicity of one of the greatest clergymen in the United States,” said Anthony. “We have had great speakers in the past such as Bill Cosby, Attorney General Colin Powell, Former President Bill Clinton, and many more, but this year, people are coming from around the world to hear Rev. Wright, a heaven of a preacher who brings the word.”

The 53rd Annual Freedom Fund Dinner was held in the Oakland and Macomb Halls of the Cobo Conference Center. Dr. Wendell Anthony is the president of the Detroit branch of the NAACP and Mr. Heaster L. Wheeler is the Executive Director. Robert S. Shumake was the General Chairperson of this year’s dinner and Marvin Beatty and Evelyn Caise served as Co-Chairpersons.

 

PHOTO BY LAUREN FANT / ©AMERICAJR.com

Detroit Public Schools students who won scholarships for the Art and Poster contest.

 

PHOTO BY LAUREN FANT / ©AMERICAJR.com

Rev. Wendell Anthony welcomed Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr. to Cobo Center for the NAACP Freedom Fund Dinner on Sunday.

 

PHOTO BY LAUREN FANT / ©AMERICAJR.com

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his wife attend the dinner.

 

PHOTO BY LAUREN FANT / ©AMERICAJR.com

Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm at the NAACP Freedom Fund Dinner.

 

 

 

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