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International Civil Rights Center & Museum Hosts Annual Gala



Julian Bond, Tom Joyner among the honorees for the Museum's 50th Anniversary Gala

GREENSBORO, N.C.,  -- The International Civil Rights Center & Museum (Museum) today announced honorees for its 50th Anniversary Gala and Banquet. This year's event will be held on Saturday, Jan. 30, 2010 at the Joseph S. Koury Convention Center in Greensboro, N.C. The Museum will recognize top honorees Julian Bond and Tom Joyner as part of the 50th anniversary celebration and grand opening.

"We gather annually to honor the civil and human rights achievements of community leaders, corporations, organizations and individuals throughout the world," said Melvin "Skip" Alston, chairman and co-founder of the Museum. "This year's gala and banquet will be part of a three-day celebration to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Greensboro sit-ins."

The program will begin at 7 p.m. with High Point University President, major philanthropist and chairman of the 2010 galaNido Qubein as host for the evening. Individual tickets are $100 and can be purchased through the Museum's Web site,

The 50th anniversary gala and banquet is the first of four events leading up to the grand opening of the International Civil Rights Center & Museum on Feb. 1, 2010. The Museum's opening schedule of events includes:

  1. Town Hall Forum, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2010
  2. 50th anniversary gala and banquet, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2010
  3. Celebration of Unity, an ecumenical service, Sunday, Jan. 31, 2010
  4. Grand opening ceremonies at site of the historic sit-ins in Greensboro, N.C., Monday, Feb. 1, 2010

Julian Bond, Tom Joyner Among the 2010 Honorees

The Museum will recognize civil rights activist and former United States legislator Julian Bond as the 2010 recipient of the Alston-Jones International Civil and Human Rights Award. This is the organization's highest award and is named in honor of Guilford County Commissioner Melvin "Skip" Alston and N.C. Rep. Earl F. Jones.

Julian Bond currently serves as Chairman of the Board for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and has served in that capacity since 1998. Bond played a pivotal role during the Civil Rights Movement as a founding member and former communications director of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). In 1965, he was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives, only to be prevented from taking his seat by members. After a third election and unanimous decision from the U.S. Supreme Court, his seat was awarded back to him. Bond later became the first president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, where he continues to sit on the board of directors. In addition to being the recipient of 25 honorary degrees, Bond is a distinguished professor at American University in Washington, D.C., and a history professor at the University of Virginia.

Nationally syndicated radio host, author and philanthropist Tom Joyner will be recognized as the 2010 recipient of the Museum's Trailblazer Award. This award honors individuals who have remained active in the struggle for civil rights and equality for African Americans. Joyner, who is host of "The Tom Joyner Morning Show," is also founder of The Tom Joyner Foundation. Through his foundation, Joyner has raised more than $55 million in financial aid to students enrolled at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. His recent online enterprise,, continues his mission to "inform, entertain and empower" African Americans. Among his professional accolades, Joyner was the first African American inducted into The National Radio Hall of Fame and Museum. He was also recognized in 2008 as an inductee into the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site.

Other awards to be presented throughout the evening include the Unsung Hero award, Sit-In Participants' award (an award chosen by Ezell Blair, Franklin McCain and Joseph, the three surviving members of the Greensboro Four) and the Community Leadership award. The Museum will also induct its inaugural class into the International Civil Rights Center & Museum's Hall of Fame. The inductees include past recipients of the Alston-Jones International Civil and Human Rights Award: Harry Belafonte, Cicely Tyson, Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall (posthumously), Ambassador Andrew Young, Rev. Joseph Lowery, Rev. Al Sharpton, Dick Gregory, Rev. Benjamin L. Hooks, Hon. Vernon Jordan, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (posthumously), Rep. John Lewis, Dr. Maya Angelou, Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., Nelson Mandela and Mrs. Rosa Parks.

For more information about the International Civil Rights Center & Museum's grand opening and schedule of events,

About the International Civil Rights Center & Museum

The International Civil Rights Center & Museum will function as an archival center, collecting museum and teaching facility devoted to the international struggle for civil and human rights focusing on the nonviolent protests of the Greensboro sit-ins. The 43,000 square-foot museum is located in the former F.W. Woolworth retail store where four courageous students from North Carolina A&T University began their protest at the whites-only lunch counter.

The Museum complex features educational exhibits, a gallery, auditorium, archival center, and a proposed Joint Center for the Study of Civil and Human Rights.

The International Civil Rights Center & Museum was founded by Melvin "Skip" Alston and Earl Jones in 1993 under the auspices of the Sit-in Movement, Inc.


SOURCE International Civil Rights Center & Museum

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