Civil rights leader honors King's legacy Julian Bond urges community to remain vigilant against racism

'Long history of challenges'

10 local leaders honored for work toward racial equality

January 17, 1996|By Ellen Gamerman | Ellen Gamerman,SUN STAFF

Honoring the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., veteran civil rights leader Julian Bond last night urged county residents to continue to fight racism.

"Sadly today the fight for equal justice has become a spectator sport," Mr. Bond told a crowd of more than 300 at an awards dinner celebrating King's birthday.

"We now see a long history of challenges to white supremacy that began as long ago as slavery and continue to this day," he said. "We must continue the fight against those who want to take us back to an imaginary yesterday."

Mr. Bond was the keynote speaker at the eighth annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Awards and Dinner, which honored 10 community leaders for their work for civil rights and racial equality. Organizers hoped to raise at least $10,000 through ticket sales for the event, held at Buddy's Late Night in Parole. The proceeds will go to local NAACP voter registration efforts and the Community Action Agency, which runs outreach programs in the Annapolis area.

Mr. Bond, 56, began fighting for racial equality as a student in the 1960s and served 10 terms as a Georgia state legislator.

In his speech, he railed against the racial politics that have divided the electorate and against Republican leaders who have turned the country into what he called a "festive party thrown for the rich."

Community leaders who were honored also echoed the theme of vigilance against racism.

Philip Brown, 87, a teacher, historian and author who has written two books about Annapolis' black community, said he sometimes feels invisible in a community he helped shape.

"I belong to some clubs, a historical club and a retired teachers association, and you can tell by people's actions some of them welcome you there and others try to ignore you," he said. "There are still problems, still those people out there not willing to accept us."

Mr. Brown, who was honored for his contributions to Annapolis, plans to continue his fight for civil rights by bringing recognition to the accomplishments of the local black community. He is considering writing another book, this one on the history of the Mount Moriah AME Church, a fixture in Annapolis' black community that was founded in 1874.

Last night's other honorees were Randy Rowel, a community leader and board member of the county NAACP; Martin L. "Chip" Doordan, president of Anne Arundel Health Systems; Clayton Greene Jr., the county's first black Circuit Court judge;

Larry Griffin, founder of the We Care community group; Raymond L. Langston, mayor of Highland Beach; Dr. Augustine Pounds, former vice president for services at Anne Arundel Community College;

Pamela L. North, the first female Circuit Court judge in the county; George J. Trotter, an assistant principal at Bates Middle School; and Christine Wilson, a member of the Community Action Agency in Annapolis.

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