The Warren County Branch of the NAACP recently published its “Five-Year Re-Organization Souvenir Book” highlighting five years of action and achievement since the branch’s reorganization in 2015.
Branch President Dr. Cosmos George said that the book was published in lieu of the Annual Freedom Fund Banquet, typically held in late September as a major fundraising event.
He noted that the banquet typically draws more than 200 attendees. However, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the branch concluded that it would not be possible to accommodate that many participants while observing social distancing regulations.
Members decided that a souvenir book would be a good substitute fundraising effort and would also serve as a means to highlight the local NAACP’s accomplishments over the past five years.
George said that the Warren County NAACP branch was established in the 1950s. In recent years, the branch was especially active under the presidency of Nathan Hawes. However, after Hawes’ death in 2010, the local NAACP became somewhat dormant.
In 2015, the Warren County Branch reorganized and now includes 60 active members.
Members had quite a task as they reviewed five years’ worth of history and photographs to determine what to include in the souvenir book. While there was not enough space to cover everything, George and branch members believe that the finished product will be a good resource for anyone wanting to know more about local and branch history.
George indicated that the book honors the roles that the people of Warren County and surrounding areas have held in the Civil Rights movement, in government, and in fields ranging from medicine to law by highlighting such notable figures as Cora Greene, Joel Miller, Eva Clayton, Frank Ballance, T.T. Clayton, Ella Baker and Dr. Julian Haywood.
The book highlights the local NAACP’s work over the past five years to offer scholarships, to hold an Hour of Prayer each year in conjunction with the National Day of Prayer and to be active in the preservation of an area slave cemetery so that it can become an educational site.
The branch also provides an account of that members have participated in over the past five years, including the Warren County leg of America’s Journey for Justice from Selma, Ala., to Washington, D.C., in 2015. Other marches featured are those that the Warren County NAACP organized to focus on issues ranging from gun violence to broadband internet access.
The book also provides information about voting, among other topics. George said that the Warren County branch is promoting a safe voting plan as a result of COVID-19. The plan encourages people to vote before Election Day by absentee ballot or during the early voting period to avoid crowds.
“If we can get people to participate in this, we will not have as much of a crowd on Election Day, and it will be safer for voters and poll workers,” George said.
For the Warren County NAACP members, the souvenir book is a fitting way to reflect on five years of accomplishments while looking toward the branch’s future. George described its publication as an innovative way to solve a fundraising challenge.
“COVID has essentially developed in us the ability to be creative and overcome challenges,” he said. “If it had not been for COVID, we may not have put together a document of what we have accomplished over the past five years.”
Copies of the Warren County NAACP’s “Five-Year Re-organization Souvenir Book” are $25 each. To order a book, contact Virginia Broach at 619-754-5757, Dr. Cosmos George at 252-213-2310 or Carolyn Ross-Holmes at 252-414-6177.