The Montclair Branch NAACP announced that the 107th Thurgood Marshall fundraiser (the first in-person fundraiser since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis) will be held on Friday, October 6, 2023, from 6:30 to 10 PM at the Richfield Regency in Verona, NJ.

Dr. Lillie Johnson Edwards, Professor Emerita of History and African American Studies at Drew University will deliver the keynote address.  The theme this year will be “Preserving our History,” to emphasizing the importance of of the contributions of people of color to the history of this country.

In keeping with this century old tradition, the Montclair Branch will honor Rev. Anita Wright of Trinity Presbyterian Church who will receive the Benjamin L. Hooks Religious Affairs Award; Gabbi Dennis, voter registration, education and mobilization advocate will receive the Julian Bond Community Service Award; Kathy Brown, Secretary to the Essex County Board of Commissioners will receive the Trailblazer Award; LaNa Jules and Tinu Joseph will receive the Rev. Fred Handy In-Service Award; and to several deserving high school seniors who will receive The Little Rock Nine Academic Achievement Award.

Tickets to the event can be purchased online at montclairnaacp.org, or by mail.  All checks to be paid to the Montclair NAACP, P.O. Box 353, Montclair, NJ 07042.

The Thurgood Marshall Award

The Thurgood Marshall Award is the highest award honored to a single or group of individuals exemplifying the character and commitment to the principle of civil rights and social justice.  The award this year will be presented to Friends of the Howe House, an organized group of clergy, historians, professionals, and well-meaning Montclair residents who successfully advocated to officially declare the property located at 369 Claremont Avenue, commonly known as the James Howe House, as a historic site. The property was willed to James Howe, a freed slave, by his master, Nathaniel Crane in 1833. Since that time, the structure has remained a part of the Montclair landscape.  It recently attracted the interest of local real estate investors which stirred up much objection throughout the township. As a result of the advocacy and commitment of Friends of the Howe House, its affiliates and supporters, not only were the monies raised to ward off these efforts, but to effect policy to protect the property from future sale or demolition.

NAACP President Roger S. Terry, Sr., stated that the “legacy of the NAACP was shaped by a determination to annihilate political, social, educational and economic inequality.” These principles are kept alive by people of good will, courage and respect for the tremendous cost that was paid to protect our freedoms.”  Even in the midst of turmoil and uncertainty, that legacy must continue and we must never be willing to compromise.

About the NAACP

The Montclair NAACP was founded in 1916 in strong opposition to segregated schools, disparity in the workplace, healthcare and as a strong voice against the lack of fair and affordable housing which had become prevalent throughout the town.    As a direct result of the outrage and organized forms of protest, Montclair has become well known for its rich diversity and community relations.  The NAACP will continue to monitor equity and fairness on all of these issues.