National Voting Rights Museum to hold banquet

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 17, 2006

The Times-Journal

The National Voting Rights Museum & Institute is holding its annual membership drive banquet and plans to honor five living legends of the Civil Rights Movement, and one posthumously.

The dinner is set for Saturday, Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. at the Slavery and Civil War Museum on Water Avenue. This year’s theme is “Lest We Forget.”

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This year’s honorees include Charles A. Lett Jr., Lorenzo Harrison, Bessie McMeans, Evelyn Turner, Frank Miles, and the late Andrew Jones. Donations are $25, which includes dinner and a year’s membership, and are tax deductible.

As pastor of Green Street Baptist Church, Rev. Lett and his congregation fed demonstrators and marchers. Harrison is being honored as one of the first black members of the Selma City Council. McMeans opened her home in Lowndes County to Stokely Carmichael and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Turner is the spouse of the late Albert Turner Sr., who worked along with her husband for social change.

Miles, founder of the Lowndes Christian Movement for Human Rights, is a longtime advocate for voting rights who was fired after he refused to allow his employer to manage his money. Jones, honored posthumously, was an advocate of integration and fought for his children to attend Lowndes County public schools.

“The public is invited and we’re hoping interested persons will come out to learn more about our honorees,” said Joanne Bland of the NVRM. “We’d also like for area businesses to consider supporting the museum through one of our membership levels.”

Gifts of $5,000 or more earn the Mountaintop membership. The Keeper of the Dream membership is $2,000. The Ambassador of the Dream memberships are $1,000. Family memberships are $100.

Founded in 1990, the National Voting Rights Museum has memorabilia on display and is the city’s most visited museum. Bland conducts tours for busloads of visitors on a weekly basis and celebrates the passage of the Voting Rights Act each year with its Bridge Crossing Jubilee festival and reenactment held in early March.