NAACP recognizes progress, work to be done during annual banquet

Published 7:24 pm Monday, June 10, 2019

“Forward together, not one step back.”

This was the theme of the night as the Beaufort County NAACP held its 38th-annual Freedom Fund Banquet on Friday evening. With hundreds of people attending, a variety of people spoke about the purpose of the NAACP in the 21st century and celebrated the advances the organization has championed in the past 110 years.

The keynote speaker for the evening, Pastor Joneice Gorham Carroll, has served for 20 years as pastor at Beebe Chapel CME Church, is a retired educator and chaplain of the Beaufort County NAACP. Encouraging attendees to seek justice for all people, Carroll shared a simple message — “Stand up, stand out and move forward.”

“The NAACP, nationally, since 1909, has stood on a foundation, and its mission has been constant for over 100 years,” Carroll said. “It’s a mission to ensure the political, educational, social and economic rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and discrimination. We need the NAACP.”

Carrol emphasized that throughout the organization’s history, the NAACP has sought to stand on the side of what is right, challenging racial discrimination in all forms.

“When we were told that we had to go to the back of the bus, the NAACP was there,” Carroll reflected. “When we were told that we would not integrate our schools, the NAACP was there. When we were the last to be hired and the first to be fired, the NAACP was there. The legacy of the NAACP is rich in victories, but there are still battles to be won.”

Looking back on the past, Carroll cited the integration of schools, the integration of the Turnage Theatre and equal access to doctors’ offices as causes the organization has championed locally. Moving forward, she encouraged those in attendance to take action in the name of justice.

“The issues are real, and the need for your help is great,” Carroll said. “Every one of you can play a very important part as we move forward to make sure that our voices are heard, that we are seen and that they know that we are not going away. We are here and we matter, because we have a part to play in this great democracy of ours.”

In addition to the various speakers, the crowd enjoyed music from the Beaufort County NAACP Community Choir and a meal catered by Juanita’s Lighthouse Café, of Windsor.

At the end of the program, Rev. Aaron Lewis, NAACP president, recognized a number of individuals for their positive impact on Beaufort County, with a special recognition of the late Rev. David L. Moore. Belinda Moore received a special award from the NAACP in recognition of his service to advance the cause of affordable housing in Beaufort County.

Others recognized with awards for community service included Patricia Horton-Albritton, Ray Northern, Phyllis Moore Johnson, James Smallwood, Georgia O’Pharrow, Bishop Samuel Jones Jr., Bishop Dr. James S. McIntyre Sr., Bill Booth and Alvin Powell.

For more information about the NAACP, visit

LIFT EVERY VOICE: Guests at the banquet joined together in song, singing the Black National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” Pictured is Beaufort County NAACP First Vice President James Smallwood, standing alongside other banquet attendees. (Matt Debnam/Washington Daily News)

SPECIAL AWARDS: Beaufort County NAACP President Aaron Lewis presents Belinda Moore a special award in recognition of the service of the late Rev. David L. Moore, who helped shape Beaufort County in many ways, from advancing voting rights to advocating affordable housing. (Matt Debnam/Daily News)

SINGING TOGETHER: Members of the Beaufort County NAACP Community Choir offered musical performances during the banquet. (Matt Debnam/Daily News)