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Legacy of Excellence Awards Honors Clayton and Reeves

citizen | 6/28/2011, 10:20 a.m.
by Sherrie Williams...
Garth C. Reeves

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Xernona Clayton

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The Temptations brought the crowd to their feet at the NNPA's Legacy of Excellence Dinner and Awards Gala when they performed some of their greatest hits like "Just My Imagination," "My Girl," and "Poppa Was a Rolling Stone."

by Sherrie Williams

The 71st NNPA Annual Convention was recently held at the Drake Hotel in Chicago, IL. One of the major highlights of the convention is the Legacy of Excellence Dinner and Awards Gala. This special awards gala honors Black publishers who have far exceeded the expectations of their peers in the Black Press of America.

One of the people honored was 92 year-old war veteran, Garth Reeves whos still enjoying life and living it to the fullest. Reeves emeritus of the Miami Times, in accepting the award talked about longevity in the business and shared his secrets on living a long and full life. While accepting his award Reeves joked, old is just a wordand old is better than dead, he said. He also shared words of wisdom, with the crowd and honored those who were not there to see him receive such a monumental award. He stated that even though the Legacy of Excellence Award was important to him, the greatest award that he had ever achieved in his life was the one he had received the night before which was the Samuel E. John B. Russwurm Award. Reeves received that award during the NNPAs Merit Awards held at the Parkway Ballroom on Chicago Southside.

Before joining the U.S. Army, Reeves attended Florida A&M and earned a bachelors degree in printing. When he returned to Miami after the war, he began working for his father at the Miami Times.

During his long career at the Miami Times, he worked as a reporter, columnist, managing editor, editor and publisher. Reeves used the Miami times as a platform to for the voice of the Black community and also helped lead a group of Blacks in a protest to integrate the public beaches in Miami.

Apart from being a publisher and activist he was also a Pulitzer Prize Journalist Juror and the organizing Chairman of the Board for National Industrial Bank, which was the first integrated bank in the state. Reeves can now add the Legacy of Excellence Award to his inventory of great accomplishments.

The other honoree for the evening was Xernona Clayton, the mother of the Trumpet Awards where she is President, Founder, and CEO of the Trumpet Awards Foundation, Inc. The Trumpet Awards event was created to highlight the accomplishments and contributions of African Americans. Clayton also has a long list of awards, honors and accomplishment to go along with her Legacy of Excellence Award.

Among her many other achievements, Clayton is the first African American female host of a primetime talk show. She was also honored in 2004 with two very impressive awards when Spelman College presented her with the first Local Community Service Award for her continued dedication to leadership in the community. Also in 2004, the State of Georgia presented her with the Leadership and Dedication in Civil Rights Award. She has also been recognized for her contribution to broadcasting, her community and her nation, by the American Intercultural Student Exchange (AISE) which created a scholarship in her honor. Recently in Ghana, a school was named in her honor.

Clayton, a close friend of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., is also a member of the Ebenezer Baptist Church and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.

The night was brought to a close with a riveting performance by the Temptations. The group sang several of their famous hits and brought the crowd to its feet with hits like Just My Imagination, Poppa Was a Rolling Stone, and My Girl.