NAACP hosts 33rd Annual Freedom Awards Celebration

ALBANY, Ga. -- Just three days before the midterm elections, an awards celebration also emphasized the importance of voting.

The Albany-Dougherty NAACP 33rd Annual Freedom Awards Celebration with more than 100 people in attendance at about 7 p.m.

Saturday at Monroe High School allowed local officials to encourage people to get our and vote

Master of ceremonies Georgia Representative for District 150 Winfred Dukes kicked off the evening with a short jab at people who might want to take the country back, as some conservative organization leaders have said.

"Take the country back? Back to what? Shelling peas and picking cotton?" Dukes said. "We can't go back. We won't go back. It is time to carry us forward."

Dukes urged people to get out and vote on Tuesday as did several other speakers after him including Albany Mayor Willie Adams Jr. and Dougherty County Commissioner John Hayes.

Everette Freeman, president of Albany State University, said that younger voters shouldn't be counted out of the upcoming election.

"They will be there," Freeman said.

Former Albany-Dougherty National Association for the Advancement of Colored People President William Wright said that the fight for rights is not over.

"We have chosen to honor Shirley Sherrod with this year's Freedom Award," Wright said. "She had the ability to stand up and show the country and the world that we have not come as far as we think."

Sherrod had been fired from her U.S. Agriculture job for erroneously reported remarks she made while addressing a different NAACP group in March as racist. Her remarks, edited out of context were actually about racist healing.

Sherrod could not attend the celebration, but she would be forwarded the award, Wright said.