UNCF NOLA Mayor’s Masked Ball

I was asked to do like a 90 second intro to the annual mayor’s masked ball recently. I sort of envisioned it like a Samuel L. Jackson commercial. So here it is:

1944.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt proposes a Second Bill of Rights for social and economic security in his State of the Union address.

IBM dedicates the first program-controlled calculator.

Casablanca wins the Best Picture Award at the Oscars.

Angela Davis. Diana Ross. Patti LaBelle. Gladys Knight. All were born in 1944, the official beginning of Black Girl Magic.

As the 1944 D Day invasion of Normandy laid the foundation for the Allied victory on the western front, Frederick Douglas Patterson also laid a foundation. The year before Patterson wrote a letter in the Pittsburgh Courier noting that the war was damaging private universities through loss of male students and philanthropic dollars. He argued that now might be the time to pool resources and make a unified appeal to the national conscience.

On April 25, 1944, the United Negro College Fund was born. In seventy five years over $5 billion was raised, producing over 450,000 college degree recipients, 400 award programs granting over 10,000 scholarships per year, support of 37 member institutions adding $15B annually to the US economy.

For 75 years, the United Negro College Fund has lived its motto — A Mind Is Terrible Thing to Waste, but a Wonderful Thing to Invest In. Tonight we celebrate the dividends.

Written by

7th president of Dillard University

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