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NAACP recognizes local residents

By By Penny Randall / staff writer
May 4, 2002
Ernest Smith and Josephine Virgil, teachers in the Meridian Public School District, were recently honored by the local chapter of the NAACP as Man and Woman of the Year.
Virgil, a teacher for 29 years, said she was "very honored and pleasantly surprised." She currently teaches special education classes at Carver Middle School.
Virgil is an active member of the local chapter of the NAACP and St. Paul's United Methodist Church.
Smith said he also was surprised by his honor. Smith is a chemistry instructor at Meridian High School and a teacher for almost 50 years.
The two were honored at the NAACP's Freedom Fund banquet and fund-raiser. Money raised from the event helps pay state and national NAACP dues and fund scholarships given to local students.
About 250 attended the banquet at the Council of Organizations Building in Meridian. The guest was Ben Chaney, brother of James Chaney one of three civil rights workers killed in June 1964 by members of the Ku Klux Klan.
Besides the Man and Woman of the Year, other awards included:
Mother of the Year: Kittra Hudnall, from 31st Avenue Baptist Church.
Entrepreneurial Spirit Award: Martha Ann Alford, owner of Binke's Restaurant in Meridian.
President's Award: the Rev. Phillip Blackshear.

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