Seven to receive NAACP scholarships

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Seven high school seniors in Marshall County are being awarded scholarships from the local branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Scheduled for an appearance at the 43rd Annual Freedom Fund Banquet on April 23 are Jordan Anderson, Dominique Brown, De'Lorean Taylor, Brea Johnson, Broderick Tears and Rachel Zajac of Marshall County High School and Aaron Crowell of Cornersville High School.

The scholarships are the most important part of the banquet at Lewisburg's Recreation Center, according to Gary Davis, president of the local branch. The banquet starts at 6 p.m.

Rochelle Alexander, secretary of the NAACP Branch here, announced the scholarship recipients over the weekend when Davis provided some background about the Freedom Fund Scholarships.

"The Freedom Fund was started because many African-Americans could not afford legal fees," Davis said. "So this was set up for those who needed help could come to the NAACP for some type of legal help.

"That's basically what the Freedom Fund was set up to do, but as years progressed, we had different laws and things to make sure that African-Americans got fair trials and legal advice and, I think, many branches turned it into a fundraiser," Davis said.

Those programs offered members an opportunity to "get dressed up and have fellowship," he said. "And it's become a way to raise money for scholarships awarded to graduating seniors."

The local branch of the NAACP also created the George W. Turner Award. Turner was an educator and a community leader who wanted to be sure that young people could get an education. The George W. Turner Award goes to those who are outstanding in the community, or in the church.

This year, the award winner is Diane Henry, a fundraiser for the banquet and a leader who's been the branch treasurer, assistant treasurer, and one who's done many other things for the organization, Davis said.

The branch votes for the individual who receives George W. Turner Award.

"We get together and nominate various people in the community," the branch president said. Voting is by secret ballot.