The April 4th Foundation will hold its 14th annual fundraising banquet on Friday, April 4th at 6:30 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom of the Peabody Hotel.
The banquet supports the foundation's youth component of the "Footsteps" Program, which teaches students about the civil rights era through direct interaction with civil rights icons and visitation of historic places. The mission of the foundation is to "Tell the story...pass it on" and in the process detail the sacrifices and successes.
The Rev. Johnson Saulsberry Jr., founder of the April 4th Foundation, said the banquet has become "everything we wanted it to be, but there's always room for growth. We look for that growth through the young people that we have in our youth program to help us grow into a bigger and better organization in the future."
For Saulsberry, being knowledgeable about the civil rights era is important for progress.
"As a people, if we don't know our past, we'll definitely be doomed for our future. We have to be aware of our past, especially a past that's so rich in history. We have such a rich background as a culture," said Saulsberry.
The rich background is reflected in the award recipients that will be honored at the banquet.
Dr. C.T. Vivian of Atlanta, Ga., the recipient of the "I am a Man" award, worked closely with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and was one of the movement's main strategists. Saulsberry recalled Vivian being beaten on television, calling it the "second shot heard around the world" for African Americans.
The recipient of the foundation's "Open Door Award" is Acacia Salatti, President Obama's appointee as acting director of the Center for Faith-based and neighborhood Partnerships (The Partnership Center) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Other civil rights-era icons scheduled to attend include political activist Bobby Seale, who co-founded the Black Panther Party, becoming its high-profile national chairman.
For ticket sales and information, contact Attorney Charles E. Carpenter, Banquet Chairman at 901-523-7788.