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Lincoln NAACP President Dewayne Mays is well aware that many women of color were at the forefront of the women's suffrage movement in the early 1900s. But those women and their efforts to spark change often aren't recognized by the general public, he said.

To shed light on that fact, the NAACP Lincoln Branch will dedicate its annual Freedom Fund Banquet to the efforts of women of color toward voting rights. 

"We would like the public and the communities to know about the suffrage that African American women have gone through and the lack of recognition for the efforts they put in," Mays said. "They were trying to address women rights, but they were also looking for citizens’ rights, schools and all kinds of issues. It was much greater than just voting."

The banquet, which will also be a celebration of the NAACP Lincoln Branch's 101st anniversary, will be Saturday at The Cornhusker Marriott. A social hour starts at 5:30 p.m. and the dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. 

Tickets are $45 for adults and $35 for K-12 students, and can be reserved by calling Mays at 402-488-0853. Some of the proceeds will go toward the NAACP's high school scholarship program.

The event will also include a display about DeWitty, a black homesteader settlement in Cherry County.

The keynote speaker will be the Rev. Karla Cooper, pastor of Allen-St. John Church in Kansas City, Missouri, and former pastor of Quinn Chapel in Lincoln. Cooper will discuss ways to further NAACP's goal of ensuring equal rights for all citizens, socially and economically.

The banquet will also be an opportunity for the public to learn about different issues in the community, such as education disparity, voting rights and racial profiling, Mays said.

Community members can also learn about ways to get involved with the organization and ways to help combat issues and uplift fellow citizens.

"Every year that I've spent at the event, I've experienced the love of the black community," said NAACP member Jackie Egan. "I hope people who come to the banquet can leave with knowledge, love and honor."

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7223 or mazizah@journalstar.com. On Twitter @mia_azizah11

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