A group of almost 200 civic leaders and other guests gathered at All Souls Church Sunday evening to pay tribute to community activist Josephine (Jo) Butler.
The Statehood Party chairperson was awarded a City Council resolution, presented by Council member Hilda Mason (Statehood-At large), recognizing Butler for her "reputation as a political activist, union organizer, health worker and community mobilizer."
The ceremonial resolution praised Butler for overcoming "many barriers experienced through her humble origins as a sharecropper's daughter to become a leader in the effort for full self-determination in the District of Columbia, including community control of a school and a neighborhood as chair-person of the Morgan Community School Board and as a founder of the Adams Morgan Organization."
Butler was also cited for having "put significant effort into citizen concerns regarding health problems and the concerns of women, the poor, and the black, having served on the Mayor's Health Planning Advisory Committee, the D.C. Coordinating Committee for the International Women's Year, and the D.C. Human Rights Commission."
Among those who presented testimonials to Butler were Sammie Abbott, community activist and anti-freeway fight leader; Robert E. Peterson, president of the Greater Washington Central Labor Council; Edward Glenn Jackson, president of the Adams-Morgan Organization; Anita Bellamy Shelton, a nominee for director of the D.C. Office of Human Rights; Paula Matabane, of Women for Racial and Economic Equality, George B. Murphy Jr., of the Washington Afro-American; Dr. Paul B. Cornely, past president of the American Public Health Association, and Susan Crespeda of the Adelante Advocacy Center.
Music was provided by the D.C. Youth Orchestra String Quartet, guitarist Archie Stewart, South African musicians Ndikko and Nomusa Xaba and a local jazz group, Gail Dixon and Friend. Margo Barnett, of the Back Alley Theater, also performed.