NAACP presents local awards

By Bob Freund

The Rochester branch of the NAACP honored three of its most active members Saturday as it entered its 40th year. The awards were given at the organization's annual Freedom Fund Banquet at the Kahler Grand Hotel.

Ray Phelps-Bowman, who has been among the organization's core workers for years, received the Nancy Hart Award for Meritorious Service to the NAACP. As well as serving in leadership posts, he put together a compact disc about Freedom Fund banquets and has recruited new members for the NAACP branch. "He worked (in) the trenches and did all that was asked and more," according to his nominator.

Paul Malone, minority liaison at Century High School, was given the Earl McGhee Meritorious Youth Service Award. He has arranged mediations in cases of racial incidents at the school and in the community. He also spends much of his time advocating for housing for immigrant families in Rochester.


"Families find comfort in Paul Malone during their hectic transitions," according to remarks prepared for the award presentation.

Mechelle Severson, praised as being a "powerful influence in developing prejudice-reduction workshops for the Rochester Diversity Council," was honored with the George Gibb Meritorious Community Service Award.

This year's banquet was titled "The Race Is On," as Election Day approaches.

Rochester NAACP President W.C. Jordan Jr. urged the crowd to "go to the polls in November Let your voice be heard. The race is on. Exercise your right to voice your choice for local, state and national leadership,"Jordan said in the night's program.

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