A growing partnership of blacks and whites, Jews and Gentiles, was the goal set before Baltimore members of the NAACP last night at its annual Unity Banquet.
"I want to correct a misconception," said Dr. Rodney A. Orange, president of the Baltimore branch. "We are not a black-only organization. We are open to all people who believe in democracy and fair play."
Citing the theme of the evening, "A Chance for All," Dr. Orange said the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is "indebted to people of all walks of life."
The association, in turn, works for universal goals, he said, giving as examples safe communities, good schools and improved educational and job opportunities for young people. "We all want the same things," he added.
The diversity of local support for the NAACP was emphasized in the awards presented at the dinner meeting at Martin's West in )) Woodlawn.
Sharing the Enolia P. McMillan Award for the most significant financial contribution to the Baltimore branch during the previous year were Tyrone Taborn, president of Career Communications and a black Baltimore business leader, and Richard Taylor, Republican committeeman for Maryland, who is white.
Others who were called to the head table to be applauded also demonstrated the interracial character of the organization.
Gloria E. Dutton of Northwest Baltimore accepted the first annual Making A Difference Award on behalf of her son, television actor Charles "Roc" Dutton. Mrs. Dutton said before the dinner that her son is in Seattle making a motion picture entitled "Surviving the Game."
The Charles McC. Mathias Jr. Award for the most significant institutional support during the year went to officers of the Maryland National Bank.
Rep. Kweisi Mfume, a 7th District Democrat who was in Washington last night in connection with the president's health care reform speech, was named recipient of the Parren J. Mitchell Award for contributions to the black community.
Dr. Orange received the Dr. Lillie Carroll Jackson Award, "given to an individual who shows dedication and commitment to the cause of serving African-American people, the community and the NAACP."
The Rev. Reginald Kennedy, pastor of the Gospel Tabernacle Baptist Church, accepted the Mary B. Ames Award for the most contributions to the NAACP by a congregation.
Thelma T. Daley, who headed the dinner committee, and Alice Cooper-Lee, who chaired the Life Membership Committee, singled out leaders of 13 Baltimore neighborhood associations for their contributions to the NAACP.
Hillary Rodham Clinton had been invited to be the main speaker, but last night's health care presentations prevented her appearance.
Pinch-hitting was Delores Crockett, deputy director of the Women's Bureau of the U.S. Department of Labor. She urged the audience of about 600 to study and support the American Health Security Act of 1993.