Urban League Celebrates 75 Years of Service

Shown during the award presentation are JUL Board members Damien Haitsuka and gala chair Michelle Godfrey-Watson, JUL Vice President and honoree Linnie Finley, JUL President Dr. Richard Danford and Councilman Rahman Johnson who presented the award.

An evening of celebration and reflection was emphasized at the Jacksonville Urban League’s 75th Anniversary recently held at the Hyatt Hotel in downtown Jacksonville.  Hundreds of supporters stepped into the ballroom to commemorate JUL’s local chapter’s rich history, legacy and impact on the Jacksonville community.

Hundreds of patrons were dressed in their evening attire to mix and mingle, while enjoying the night’s award recognition and entertainment from R&B artist Chante Moore and the Katz Downstairs. Hosted by News Anchor Tenikka Hughes, the audience opened up the event singing in unison the national black anthem ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing,’ with invocation by Bethel Church Pastor Kim McKissick.

A touching part of the evening included the acknowledgement and standing ovation of honoree Linnie Finley. The occasion announced the retirement of her 50 year tenure with the JUL as its Vice President. Other highlights included the dedication of her award to all women by Dr. Johnetta Cole and a performance by celebrity entertainer Chante Moore who graciously posed for photos after her performance.

Founded in 1947, the Jacksonville Urban league is a community based organization, affiliated with the National Urban League office, providing direct services to more than two million people nationwide through programs, advocacy and research. The leagues’ mission is to help secure economic self-reliance, parity, power, and civil rights for all citizens.

Locally the chapter partners with other non-profits, businesses and social justice advocates to empower communities and change lives through pathways to education, employment and economic empowerment.

Jacksonville’s Urban League 32 year President and CEO Dr. Richard Danford, stated, “As I reflect on my 32 years of service with the JUL. I am honored and proud to be a part of the tremendous progress our Urban League family has made toward this realization of our mission,” said Danford.

The evening also included awards presented to the following individuals: Women of Power Award: Mayor Donna Deegan; Dr. Johnetta Betsch Cole; Joyce Morgan and Valerie Jenkins; Clanzel T. Brown Humanitarian Award: General Daniel “Chappie” James, Jr.; Whitney M. Young , Jr. National Leadership Award: Isaiah Rumlin; Dr. Chester A. Aikens Community Advocate (posthumously) Award: Benjamin Frazier, Jr.; Arnolta Johnston “Mama’ Williams Award: Linnie Hilliard Finley; International Women of Power Award: Her Excellency the Honorable Cynthia Pratt and special recognition awards to honorary board members Jacquelyne Holmes and Jacqueline Williams.

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