BY JAMES HARPER
The Daytona Times will be among the local companies honored later this month by the Volusia County-Daytona Beach NAACP.
Local branch president Cynthia Slater said the recipients, who will be honored during the 40th Annual Freedom Fund and Awards Banquet on May 24, “have worked and dedicated their time to ensure positive changes in our community.”
The NAACP President’s Award will go to the Times, which during the past year was at the forefront of election coverage and reporting on the Trayvon Martin case.
In 38th year
In 1969, Charles W. Cherry, Sr. launched Daytona Beach’s Westside Rapper, a Black weekly newspaper serving Daytona Beach, Florida’s African-American community.
Involved in civil rights activities most of his life, Cherry, Sr., also served for many years as the local and state president of the Florida Conference of State NAACP Branches.
In August 1978, the Westside Rapper was succeeded by the Daytona Times, the Black weekly newspaper voice of East Central Florida, now in its 38th year of publication.
Cherry, Sr. became a Daytona Beach city commissioner. He died in 2004 at age 76.
“We thank the NAACP for recognizing our staff for the high quality work they do every week. We have an excellent team. We are always appreciative when the team is recognized,” his son, Charles. W. Cherry II said this week.
Cherry II, publisher of the Times, is planning to accept the award on behalf of the newspaper’s staff owners and management, which includes his mother, Julia Cherry, and siblings Dr. Glenn Cherry and Cassandra Cherry-Kittles.
Honors for Fordham, Henry, ACLU
Also at the banquet, the NAACP’s Medgar Wiley Evers “Fight for Freedom” Award will go to Bethune-Cookman University Professor Dr. Walter Fordham. In addition, he is a member of the local NAACP’s executive board and chair of the Daytona Beach NAACP Political Action Activity Committee.
The NAACP Trailblazer Award will be presented to Daytona Beach Mayor Derrick Henry, who was elected in November as the second Black to hold the position following in the footsteps of Yvonne Scarlett-Golden.
Four organizations will receive community services awards. They include the Volusia/Flagler County ACLU, Sickle Cell Association-Volusia County chapter founded by Lillian Williams and Neighbor to Family, which was started in Daytona Beach by president and CEO Gordon Johnson.
Johnson started the program in July 2000 to revolutionize foster care by keeping siblings together while building healthier families and stronger communities.
Special guests: Dutton and Wright
Slater said the fourth organization will be announced at a later date.
The NAACP Branch Service Award will go to James Ashley, a member of the local NAACP’s executive board.
As reported by the Times earlier, actor and civil rights activist Charles Dutton will be the speaker and legendary R&B singer Betty Wright will close the evening singing some of her popular hits.
For more information and tickets, call the NAACP office at 386-255-3736 or stop by the office at the John H. Dickerson Center, 308 S. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Daytona Beach.