Harry Belafonte, legendary humanitarian and civil rights activist, is set to be the keynote speaker at Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. Centennial Gala in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, January 11, 2014. The historic event, slated to occur at the Renaissance Hotel Downtown, is a prelude to Phi Beta Sigma's highly anticipated five-day Centennial Celebration which will also take place in the nation's capital from July 16-20, 2014.
The legendary Mr. Belafonte is known for his many firsts, which include the overturning of numerous racial barriers in the world of culture in America. He prominently contributed to end the oppressive apartheid government of South Africa and for the release of his friend, Nelson Mandela after twenty-seven and a half years of incarceration. In 1987, Belafonte accepted the appointment as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, thus making him the second American to hold this title - the first being Danny Kaye, upon whose death Belafonte assumed the position. Belafonte has continued to devote himself globally to civil and human rights issues, focusing in particular on the United States and Africa.
The Gala, which is themed, "Stony the Road, We Trod," will honor Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery, former Chairman of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; Rev. C.T. Vivian, Freedom Rider and former President of Southern Christian Leadership Conference; Rev. Al Sharpton, Founder and President of National Action Network and Honorary Member of Phi Beta Sigma; Edophus Towns, former U.S. Congressman (Brooklyn, NY) and Phi Beta Sigma member; Mrs. Clayola Brown, President of the A. Philip Randolph Institute; Mr. Hank Thomas, an original Freedom Rider and Mrs. Elizabeth Williams-Omilami, daughter of Phi Beta Sigma member Brother Hosea Williams and President of Hosea Feed the Hungry. Former USA President William Jefferson Clinton, an honorary member of Phi Beta Sigma, will provide a "special video greeting."
The Centennial Gala will be simulcast from the nation's capital to six Regional Galas throughout the country. Those locations include Tinley Park Holiday Inn Convention Center, Tinley Park, (Chicago southwest suburb), IL; Doubletree Memphis Downtown, Memphis, TN; Hilton-Fort Worth, Forth Worth, TX; Sheraton Greensboro Hotel at Four Seasons, Greensboro, NC; Rosen Plaza Hotel, Orlando, FL and 333 Live, Los Angeles, CA.
"I am blessed to be serving as Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.'s international president at this time in our history," remarked Jonathan A. Mason, Sr., 34th International President. "I am most honored with the opportunity to present our distinguished and well-deserved honorees their awards on behalf of our organization," he added. "We are also elated to have Mary Breaux Wright, International President of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., our sister organization, providing the charge to us. Since 1920, our two organizations have worked hand in hand providing community service to humanity worldwide," Mason continued.
MAZE featuring Frankie Beverly are slated to be the headline performers during Phi Beta Sigma's July 2014 Centennial Celebration. Already confirmed to make special appearances are Phi Beta Sigma Honorary members Dr. Bobby Jones, Bootsy Collins, Les Brown and George C. Fraser. Award-winning gospel artist, Pastor Shirley Caesar is also scheduled to perform at the Opening Ceremony. For more information, go to www.pbs100.org.
[Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., established on January 9, 1914 at Howard University, is a global organization with over 650 chapters and 150,000 members. To discover more about Phi Beta Sigma, please visit www.phibetasigma1914.org and www.pbs100.org.]