The Washington chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), along with local government and commmunity leaders, last week recognized the professional contributions of black women in Washington in "A Tribute to Black Women by Black Men."
Seven Washington women were honored at the Sheraton Park Hotel. The seven were selected by a 10 man committee from a list of 123 nominess submitted by community organizations and individuals.
Henry A. Silva, president of the local SCLC chapter, said the event was initiated last August by board members in an effort to pay overdue tribute to women who have contributed to the betterment of life in Washington and the nation.
The seven women were presented plaques for their achievements in education, communications, religion, business, politics, civil rights and community and civil affairs.
Those attending the luncheon were stirred to a standing ovation by Sibyl Moses, who was honored for her civil rights work.
"You (black men) are supposed to listen to women like me and all of those (women) out there," said the silver-haired octogenarians whose tireless lobbying foo the Civil Rights Act earned her a seat at the signing of the legislation by then President Lyndon B. Johnson.
"We've had to pray for you, talk to you, wonder how we could get the idea over to you. (So) I'm glad the Negroo man decided I had a little something on the ball. Not only me, but the wonderful women that are sitting out there," she said.
In addition to her civil rights work, Moses was a major force in securing more than $415,000 in federal funds to restore the Frederick Douglass Home in Washington..
Jeanne Lea, professor of education and dean of the school of continuing education at the University of the District of Columbia, was awarded the education plaque. Lea's many successes range from serving as a curriculum specialist at Federal City College and Virginia Technical Institued to her work as coordinator of many national adult education programs.
Elaine Jenkins, president of the One America consulting firm was the honoree in the field fo business. Her achievements have included work on a committee to study the efficiency of local government as well as the One America firm, which was a leader in bringing black contractors to work on the Metrorail system. In 1973, Jenkins received the National Business League's highest award for a woman in business.
The field of communications was represented by Lillian Wiggins, women's editor of the Washington Afro-American newspapaer. In her 15 years as a journalist, Wiggins has covered national political campaigns, local news and Third World affairs, including the Biaafran civil war.
Rebecca Glover a longtime activist in the missionary and editorial departments of the American Methodist-Epis-copal Zion Church, was honored for her achievements in religious work. The award in civic and community affairs went to Ruth Webster, a leader in ncity projects such as the redevelopment of the 14th Street corridor and community health.
City council members attending the ceremony were called to the dais by Sterling Tucker as he presented Ward 7 councilwoman, Willie J. Hardy, with the politics award.
"She believes and feels deeply about her fellow person. She's unusual in that she's not only the mother of seven children but she's also the mother to all the children in her ward," said Tucker. "She tends to her business in City Hall does not neglect the people who sent her there."
"I accept this on behalf of all black women who have toiled in the field of politics," Hardy said. "It isn't easy getting there and it isn't easy staying."
Congressman Walter J. Fauntroy was master of ceremonies for the presentation. Among those presenting the awards were city officials Douglas Moore, Jerry Moore and Sterling Tucker, Judge Wade McCree, U.S. solicitor general; Waymon S. Wright, executive director of the National Business Leaque; William Raspberry, Washington Post columnist, and K.S. Tollett, director of the institute for the study of educational policy at Howard University.
WHUR radio personality Jerry Phillips also served as a master of ceremonies, and entertainment was provided by the Rev. Imagene Stewart, the Deane Singers, and Sir Bernard Frazier. The Rev. Godwin Douglas, chairman of the awards selection committee, gave the invocation and Howard Jenkins, three-time presidential appointee to the National Labor Relations Board presented the closing address.