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Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. From the ballot box to the classroom, the thousands of dedicated workers, organizers, leaders and members who make up the NAACP continue to fight for social justice for all Americans. In 1953, financially pressed by the heavy load of legal cases and other aspects of the civil rights battle, Dr. Channing H. Tobias, newly elected chairman of the NAACP Board of Directors, launched the “FIGHT FOR FREEDOM FUND” campaign at the annual convention in St. Louis, Missouri. The slogan was “Free by ‘63”. The goal of the campaign was to eliminate all state-imposed racial discrimination by the centennial of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. The convention unanimously adopted a resolution to raise one million dollars annually to fund the fight for freedom.
Organized in 1918, the San Antonio Branch of the NAACP has long been in the forefront of the struggle for equality. As early as 1949, testimonial dinners were held which highlighted National and Branch accomplishments while acknowledging the efforts of members and progressive citizens who were leaders in the fight for social justice.
The Freedom Fund Committee shall plan and conduct fund-raising activities, including entertainment and other projects, for local and national purposes within the scope of the Association's program. It shall work closely with the Finance Committee.
Freedom Fund chair: Mrs. Mentoria Sherfield
In 1954, San Antonio accepted Dr.Tobias’ challenge and launched a Freedom Fund Dinner honoring the Reverend Claude Black, Mr. Archie Johnson and Mr. T.E. Gilmore. In 1955, the honorees were Archbishop Robert Lucy and Mr. A. Maceo Smith.
In the decades since the initial Freedom Fund Dinners, the Branch has annually honored those in our community who work tirelessly to ensure the political, educational, equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination. Past honorees have come from fields as diverse as religion, sports, local/state/national elected office, medicine, small and corporate business, jurisprudence, education, and the military.