Robert “Bobby” Hunter, the master of ceremonies, kept the program flowing as he does every year. His quips and wit behind the microphone, MCing the annual Robert Douglas Hall of Fame Awards Luncheon, are as entertaining as the best of them. Ora Garrett-Threat and Gwendolyn Connor, the co-chairs, host this event each year at Our Children’s Foundation (West 125th Street), like a Thanksgiving dinner held at your favorite aunt’s house.
New York Assemblywoman Inez Dickens and State Senator Bryan Benjamin attended, recognizing the importance and commitment of the event attended by many others, some who have made names for themselves in sports here or proudly represent the Harlem community, such as Bob McCullough, Cal Ramsey, Leroy Hendricks, Steve Burtt and Bill Modess and John Purcellm and Ray Jones, movie stars in their own right; Carl Green and his lovely wife Judy; and Ernie “LMHS” Morris (“Let Me Hold Something”).
Equal to or greater than the laughs received by Hunter were the standing ovations given when the legendary Floyd Lane introduced awardee Mabel Knight-Wilson, a Hall of Fame inductee, or the spirit of the Lord that the Rev. Jacques DeGraff brought when introducing Joe “the Destroyer” Hammond, another legend, also a Hall of Fame inductee.
Knight-Wilson, recognized as an outstanding player and coach, emphasized the necessity of getting and keeping today’s youth educated.
“We all must try to get our young people interested in education and community,” she stated, with emphasis on both.
Nasir Pinkley received the Benjamin “Benny” Garrett Youth Achievement Award. Londel Davis Jr. received the Native New Worker Award. Rachid Niang received the Humanitarian Award. Sen. Benjamin received the Lifetime Achiever Award. Heather Brown and Roger Murray Sr. received the Edward C. Younger Pioneer Award. Also receiving a Hall of Fame Award was Carlton Greene.
The purpose of the luncheon is to increase and preserve awareness of African-American history and to provide scholarships to send youth from the inner city to summer camp.