BY C.S. HOWARD
Mrs. Christine C. Clark will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Sarasota County Branch NAACP’s 31st Annual Freedom Awards Banquet on Thursday, October 6th at the Sarasota Hyatt. The reception begins at 6:00 p.m., followed by dinner and program at 6:30 p.m.
The prestigious Freedom Awards are presented to individuals, organizations and businesses that have significantly contributed to furthering the local and national goals of the NAACP. Other honorees are Tyesha Brown, Rising Star; Leroy Butler and Terrance Gilliam, Go Forth and Prosper; Children’s Healthy Pantry and Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee, President’s Awards; Judge Erika N. Quartermaine, Public Service, and Marion D. Redding, Education.
Mrs. Clark has been an educator for nearly 40 years. She attended Florida Normal College/ Florida Memorial University where she was a part of the first group to start the “sit-in’s” of the 1957 Civil Rights Movement in Saint Augustine, Florida. She, along with several others, were arrested and taken to jail. Mrs. Clark received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education and later earned her Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from the University of South Florida. She was also part of the desegregation of the public schools in Sarasota County. She is credited with eradicating the doubts and fears which were exhibited during the transition from a segregated to an integrated school system. After graduation, she married Jeremiah N. Clark, Jr. They were married for 43 years before he died in 2013. Mrs. Clark is the mother of Dwayne Clark, Dale Clark, and Christy Clark Brown. She is the grandmother of 7 and the great-grandmother of 3.
Over the years, Mrs. Clark has been a very active and committed member of her church Greater Hurst Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church and her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated where she has achieved the distinction of being a Golden Soror. At her church, she has served as Director of Christian Education, Director of the Young People’s Division, PME Director for the Missionary Society, Lay Organization, and a member of the Board of Stewards. On the conference level, she is the Coordinator of the Big MAK/ Take Stock in Children Program and a member of the Board of Trustees. She has chaired numerous events for her church and community. Most notably, she is the founder and coordinator of the Jeremiah N. Clark, Jr. Scholarship Banquet. Through the years, scholarships have been awarded to hundreds of students. This prototype scholarship program has been adapted by all of the churches of the Saint Petersburg District.
Brown is a 2016 graduate of Sarasota High School now attending the University of West Florida. Butler graduated from Booker High School and Lafayette College and works for United Way Suncoast and Booker Middle School. Gilliam, a graduate of Sarasota High School and Florida A&M University works for the Florida Department of Revenue and as a Realtor with Exit Dream Team Realty. Children’s Healthy Pantry serves children in need of healthy snacks at 10 Title 1 schools in Sarasota County and the Jewish Federation of Sarasota continues to work towards strengthening the community through meaningful partnerships with faith-based, cultural and educational organizations. Judge Quartermaine is being honored for developing the Comprehensive Treatment Court to stop the revolving door of low level offenders with mental illness through the county jail by connecting them with appropriate mental health organizations for proper treatment. Redding is also a retired educator after 31 years of service at Sarasota Junior High School and Sarasota High School, and continues to volunteer at Oak Park School and Booker High School. All Faiths Food Bank’s mission is to fight hunger in our community, creating awareness of hunger and its impact, and feeding those who otherwise would go hungry.
For more information, call 941-355-2097 or email sarasotanaacp@ msn.com. Trevor D. Harvey is branch President and Cynthia S. Howard is banquet chairperson.