Coronation Ball evokes Dunbar poem, masks of...


Coronation Ball evokes Dunbar poem, masks of Mardi Gras

Mystery shrouded the Mr. & Ms. NAACP Coronation Ball last night at the Omni Hotel. Ball-goers wore Mardi Gras masks, making them difficult to recognize.

Ball Chairman Brandon Neal, inspired by Paul Laurence Dunbar's poem "We Wear the Mask," decided that "Unveiling the Mask of the 21st Century" would be an appropriate theme for the event.

Masks were provided, but some members of various youth delegations made their own disguises and had a "best mask" competition.

"I think that the new addition to the coronation helps to show diversity and creativity," said Mykkesia Moore, 16, of Brunswick, Ga.

The ball, sponsored by the youth and college division of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, was started by Clara Luper, state adviser for Oklahoma's youth and college division. Neal said he gave the ball a theme in hopes of boosting attendance, which has dropped in recent years.

Winners receive Gateway laptop computers, and other contestants get T-shirts and hats.

Coast Guard takes part in NAACP convention

When most people envision the Coast Guard, they think of dangerous rescues and missions at sea. But this week, a 270-foot Coast Guard ship, with nearly 100 crew members, is docked at the Inner Harbor, as part of the NAACP's 91st annual convention.

"It's a great opportunity, and it's a good liberty for the crew," Capt. Kevin Cavanaugh, 42, said yesterday. "It's a great experience to get dignitaries from the NAACP on board and to get to show off the ship a little bit here in Baltimore."

The Coast Guard is holding receptions and visitation aboard the cutters Tahoma and Finback. Retired Vice Adm. James C. Card and Jerry Jones will be honored tomorrow with the Roy Wilkins Renown Service Award. Card, who retired last year, shepherded the project "Managing Diversity as a Process Study." Jones developed a military action plan designed to improve opportunities for minorities.

India Forum promotes world understanding

Ever heard of the India Forum Inc.?

Rupa Mohindru, 48, says it's a Baltimore-based cultural, social and community service group founded in 1973 by a small group of Asian and Indian families to promote an understanding of Indian culture.

On Sunday, about a dozen members in multicolored Indian costumes danced at the Baltimore Convention Center.

"When we found out we were going to perform at the convention, we were excited," Mohindru said. The group is involved in several human service projects, including Adopt-A-Highway and feeding the homeless at Thanksgiving.

NAACP program offers free car seats

With her baby due in less than two weeks, Antoinette Townes faced spending as much as $50 for a car seat. Now Townes, 31, can use the money for something else.

She took advantage of a program sponsored by the NAACP's health division, the United Auto Workers, the National SAFE KIDS Campaign and General Motors that provides free safety seats.

Townes' sister, Amore Forrester, 19, and their mother, Cynthia Johnson, 45, joined her at the Convention Center on Sunday to get free seats.

"I think it's excellent, plus they give a lot of explanation and information," Johnson said. "I didn't know after six years you're supposed to throw them out."

Townes of West Baltimore was thankful for the car seat and for being shown how to install it.

Post office branch open at convention site

Can't get to a post office while you're in Baltimore this week for the convention? No sweat. The post office has come to you.

A makeshift branch is set up inside the Baltimore Convention Center, enabling patrons to mail packages and purchase stamps, among other services.

Stamps from the Black Heritage Series are being sold, with Malcolm X, Harriet Tubman and Patricia Harris the biggest sellers.

Contest observer wowed by Baltimore

Many NAACP convention-goers have been to Baltimore before. Not Brian Rush, 17, of Laurinburg, N.C.

The NAACP's Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics, (ACT-SO) lured Brian here as a contest observer.

The competition featured 25 categories, including oratory, music composition, architecture and mathematics.

"It was good, it was exciting," Brian said.

Sun staff writers Laurie Willis and Mia D. McNeil contributed to this report

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