Saturday, May 29, 2004

Smiley, Haysbert honored by NAACP

Talk-show host Tavis Smiley (below) and Dennis Haysbert, who plays the president on the Fox TV series 24, were among those honored at an annual awards dinner held this week by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

The Roy Wilkins Freedom Fund Dinner in Beverly Hills, Calif., marked the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education.

"As one who was a beneficiary of the struggle that Thurgood Marshall and those brilliant lawyers waged on my behalf ... it's humbling and it challenges me now to do some significant work to live up to the award," Smiley said.

Educator Theodore Alexander, who won the W.E.B. Dubois Education Award, oversees integration programs in Los Angeles schools.

Haysbert serves as a role model both as an actor and for the positive character he plays in the TV thriller, said Stasia Washington, head of the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP.

"And you have Tavis Smiley," Washington said of the PBS- TV talk-show host. "Fifty years ago we couldn't do any of the things that Tavis is doing."

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