The Laurens County NAACP is set to host its 41st Annual Freedom Fund Banquet at Springfield Baptist Church on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018 beginning at 6 p.m.
The NAACP banquet will share the date with the Sanders High School Alumni Association’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration, which is set to begin at 10 a.m.
“We start at 10 o’clock with information booths on just about everything, health, etc.,” said Ella Morrison of the Sanders Alumni Association. “The program will start at noon.”
This year’s NAACP Freedom Fund Banquet will celebrate the legacy of Dr. King with the theme, “Steadfast and Immovable for 100 Years in South Carolina.”
Laurens County NAACP President Adolphus Brewster said the banquet annually draws between 325-400 people and that is the expectation for the 2018 edition.
“We will look at national and local issues,” Brewster said of the event. “Our celebration centers around Dr. King’s goals and dreams, and we try to maintain those particular issues. We want things to be fair and equal to all people, and it takes all of us working together to promote things for that to happen.”
Lewis H. Nelson, of Columbia, is the keynote speaker for the event. Nelson, a former detective with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department and current special investigator with Allstate Insurance Company’s Property, Arson and Fraud Unit, is a noted philanthropist in the Columbia area and past master of Capital City Masonic Lodge No. 47.
After the deaths of his parents, Nelson was raised in foster and group homes, but still graduated as salutatorian in the academically gifted and talented program at Dreher High School in 1981. He went on to graduate from the University of South Carolina in 1984 and the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy in 1987.
Nelson’s philanthropic efforts have included the United Way, Meals on Wheels, the Council on Aging and Guardian Ad Litem of Richland County. He has also earned the highest honors as part of the Masonic Lodge, including Mason of the Year for Capital City Lodge No. 47 and District Mason of the Year for the Fourth Masonic District.
The banquet is one of the largest fundraisers of the year for the local NAACP. Individual tickets may be purchased for $40 each. Tables are sold at three levels – Platinum (16 seats) for $800, Gold (eight seats) for $500 and Blue (six seats) for $350.
Tickets may be purchased by contacting any of the Program Chairman Betty M. Beasley at 864-682-5293, Carolyn Beasley Shortt at 864-682-5228, Doris Hamilton at 864-316-0208, George Casey at 864-963-2020 or Brewster at 864-682-0306.