Local News

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NAACP set to honor activist with lifetime achievement award

By Kelly Ardis Californian staff writer
Sunday, Aug 31 2014 10:34 PM
Just because the award itself wasn’t present didn’t mean the family of local activist Rosetta E. Brown couldn’t honor her all the same.

Brown was set to receive a lifetime achievement award from the Bakersfield chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Sunday night, but president Patrick Jackson was not in attendance to give the award. Brown’s son Edgar Moreland assured those in attendance that his mother would receive the award at a later time.

Celebrating both Brown’s 96th birthday and a lifetime of activism, some 100-plus family members gathered at the Bakersfield City Firefighters Hall. The dinner coincided with the 48th annual reunion for the McDaniel family, of which Brown is the oldest living matriarch.

Family members thanked Brown for her work, from helping to get sidewalks and street lights in east Bakersfield to mentoring neighborhood kids. She helped get Clara Smith into Bakersfield College almost 50 years ago.

“Someone I didn’t know took all that time and went through all that trouble to help me” go to school, Smith told the crowd.

Of course, Brown also helped her own children. Moreland said he didn’t appreciate all she did until he was an adult.

“While she was dealing with the neighborhood, I was out tearing it down,” he said. At around 24 years old “I realized she wasn’t my enemy.”

Moreland said one lesson stands out: Always listen to your mother and do what you’re told, no matter how old you are.

“She has been my leader, my motivator (and) my inspiration,” he said. 

Keynote speaker and McDaniel family member Thomas Masters came from Riviera Beach, Fla., where he’s the mayor. He spoke of many things that make up the McDaniel family, including activism and education.

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