History will be in the making Saturday night when the Griffin Branch of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) kicks off a yearlong 100th birthday celebration of the national organization.
Founded by a group of blacks and whites who met to devise a protest against the race riots and lynchings of that time, the NAACP grew out of the need to have protection against mass murders, mob brutality, segregation and discrimination.
During this celebration, the Griffin Branch plans to host an assortment of activities to motivate the young and bring remembrance and appreciation of historical growth and accomplishment to the old, said Jewel Walker-Harps, president of the Griffin Branch.
“Older citizens of Griffin, whether or not they have a respect for the NAACP, must admit that the advancements in politics, education and economics for minorities did not just happen, but can be attributed to the work of the NAACP,” Walker-Harps said. “We hope to be able to remind those who work, play and learn in environments which only a few years past were closed to them, that they are standing on the shoulders of others who used their skills and strengths and many times placed their lives in jeopardy to open the door of opportunity which they now enjoy.”
It is also important to remember the names of those who provided such opportunities, Walker-Harps said.
“The ghosts of the Rev. J.N. Shropshire, Glen Reid, Blake Barlow, Isaiah Miller, Jimmy Holland, C.W. Daniels, Gary Reid and Dr. Horace Tate must be today smiling as the trails which they blazed are bright with promise,” she said. “The shoulders of men and women such as Raymond Head, Mary Stinson, the Rev. Horace Fuller Jr. and others are weary with the loads which they once carried to secure justice and equality for their brothers. We will always be indebted to the strong white soldiers locally who walked the path with us and openly and secretly gave the ammunition needed to make the struggle productive. Without them, the victories which were won would not have happened at that time.”
The 6 p.m. program will be held at Mount Zion Baptist Church, 321 E. Taylor St., and will include a performance by the Griffin High School Chorus.