Aiken County NAACP to celebrate 100th anniversary Sunday

September 14, 2018

The Aiken County NAACP will celebrate its 100th anniversary Sunday, and part of the program will ensure the achievements the civil rights organization made during those years will carry into the next century.

Students from USC Aiken will record the stories of people who attend the meeting. A reception will begin at 3 p.m. and the program at 4 p.m. at the Center for African American History, Art and Culture at 120 York St. NE. The meeting is open to the public, and no reservations are required.

“We’ll have people talk about their experiences,” said Dr. Melencia Johnson, an NAACP board member who is helping organize the event. “As people age, we’re losing them, especially in the African-American community where we see a lot less written down when these stories are told.”

People who attend the meeting also can bring NAACP items and memorabilia to display.

The Rev. Dr. Nelson B. Rivers III, the pastor of Charity Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston, will be the keynote speaker. He also is the vice president for religious affairs and external relations for the National Action Network, a nonprofit, civil rights organization.

James Gallman, the chair person of the anniversary planning committee, will introduce Rivers. Gallman, a local educator, was president of the Aiken County and state conference of the NAACP and now is a member of the NAACP’s National Board of Directors.

The local chapter will present a special award during the program, Johnson said.

“It’s a secret, and we’re really excited,” she said. “It’s someone who has been integral to the NAACP.”

The program also will include a tour of the Center for African American History, Art and Culture and musical performances, including a prelude by USCA students. Members of the NAACP Youth Council, Aiken Branch, will be ushers. The council is for students ages 5 to high school.

“The Youth Council is really strong,” Johnson said. “Their parents are actively involved, as well.”

Johnson said she foresees “a program that is full of celebration.”

“We’re getting proclamations from the city and the county designating our 100th year,” she said. “We’ve gotten some awards over the year, and they will be on display. We won branch of the year last October at the state conference in Greenville. At the national conference, we won third place for programs in the nation.

“The Aiken County NAACP is doing some moving and shaking. It’s really strong. So we decided to partner with the Center for African American History, Art and Culture because they’re doing some moving and shaking, too.”

Want to go?

WHAT: Aiken County NAACP 100th anniversary celebration

WHEN: 3 p.m. Sunday

WHERE: Center for the African American History, Art and Culture, 120 York St. N.E.

COST: Free

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