The International Civil Rights Center and Museum has big plans when it comes to marking the 63rd Anniversary of the successful conclusion of the Greensboro civil rights sit-ins that took place in downtown Greensboro in 1960.

On Tuesday, July 25, the museum will hold its annual fundraising Gala at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro.  Each year, the museum honors those who’ve fought for civil rights and this year’s half-dozen awardees are as follows:

  • Rev. Bernard Lafayette, Jr. (Alston /Jones International Civil & Human Rights Award)
  • Dr. Sandra Hughes. (Trailblazer Award)
  • Yvonne Johnson. (Lifetime Community Service Award)
  • Kay Brown. (Keeper of the Flame Award.)
  • Mary Ellen Bender. (Sit-In Participant Award )
  • Guilford County Commissioner Kay Cashion. (Unsung Hero Award.)

At the Thursday, July 13 meeting of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners, Chairman Skip Alston, a co-founder of the civil rights museum, announced that Cashion would be receiving the museum’s Unsung Heroes Award.

Alston said at the meeting, where Cashion sat next to him at the dais , that she had steadfastly fought for years for civil rights – all without calling attention to herself or her actions.

He said that Cashion was a perfect exemplar of what the Unsung Heroes Award was all about, and he added that she would be coming back early from a national conference of county officials to accept the award.

This year, the museum is also marking the 60th Anniversary Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “I Have a Dream” speech, which King gave during the famous March on Washington in August of 1963. In fact, the theme of this year’s gala is, “The March to Washington Continues.”

This is also a big year for the civil rights museum because of the site’s major push to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. That’s rare air that includes the Statue of Liberty and the Grand Canyon, but the museum has already raised millions for the effort.

Before the 6 p.m. awards program and banquet on July 25, there will be a 4 p.m. press conference at the museum.