Annual Freedom Fund and Awards Banquet

The Asheville Branch NAACP and the Empowerment Resource Center of Asheville/Buncombe County will hold the annual Freedom Fund and Awards Banquet October 31 beginning at 7 p.m. The event, which takes place at the DoubleTree Biltmore, 115 Hendersonville Road in Asheville, honors leaders and celebrates efforts in achieving equality for all people. Tickets are $35 each, and funds raised through this event support the work of the Asheville Branch NAACP.

The keynote speaker is Minnijean Brown Trickey, one of the nine African American students whose courage and determination, coupled with protection from United States National Guard troops, carried them through angry crowds to end segregation at Little Rock Central High School in 1957.

Asheville resident Minnie Jones will receive the Sophie Dixon &
Grace Dorn Leadership Award, given to women who exemplify the qualities
of leadership, action, and influence in our community exhibited by
Sophie Dixon and the late Grace Dorn. The President’s Award, presented
annually to an agency or business dedicated to the community’s economic
development, will be presented to OnTrack Financial Education and

Tickets may be ordered by mailing checks to PO Box 2881
Asheville, NC 28802 or by calling (828) 281-3066. Attendees are
encouraged to order tickets early.


Minnijean Brown Trickey, one of the “Little Rock Nine” stands in front of Central High, Little Rock, Arkansas.  Photograph
courtesy of Shaun Heasley Photography – Special to the Urban News – No
Duplications or reproductions of any kind permitted. For information
pertaining to this photo, contact: Shaun Heasley at

Minnijean Brown Trickey

Staff reports

Minnijean Brown Trickey is one of the nine African American
students who collectively resisted opposition to the desegregation of
Little Rock Central High School in 1957. Although all nine experienced
verbal and physical harassment during their year at Central, Brown was
suspended and then expelled for retaliating against the daily torment.

She moved to New York and lived with Drs. Kenneth B. and Mamie
Clark, African American psychologists who used their social science
findings for the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court case, and
was graduated from the New Lincoln School in 1959. After graduation,
she attended Southern Illinois University, received a bachelor’s degree
in social work from Laurentian University, and earned her master’s in
social work at Carleton University, in Ontario.

Ms Brown Trickey has worked in various settings committed to
peacemaking, environmental issues, developing youth leadership,
diversity education and training, cross-cultural communication, and
gender and social-justice advocacy. She served in the Clinton
administration as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Workforce Diversity at
the Department of the Interior. Her teaching experience in social work
includes Carleton University and community colleges in Canada. While
teaching, writing, and appearing as a motivational speaker, she is also
the Shipley Visiting Writer for Heritage Studies at Arkansas State

Brown Trickey has received numerous awards for her work for
social justice, including a Lifetime Achievement Tribute by the
Canadian Race Relations Foundation and the International Wolf Award for
contributions to racial harmony. With the Little Rock Nine, she
received the NAACP Spingarn Medal and the Congressional Gold Medal.

She is the subject of a documentary, Journey to Little Rock: the
Untold Story of Minnijean Brown Trickey, which has received critical
acclaim in film festivals throughout the world. She was featured in
People, Newsweek, the Ottawa Citizen, the BBC, the Canadian
Broadcasting Corp,, Donahue, and numerous other television, radio, and
print media. She appeared with the Little Rock Nine on Oprah and the
Today show.

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