YORK -- A birthday cake would have been a fire hazard last week.
Thursday, Feb. 12, was the 200th birthday of America's 16th President, Abraham Lincoln. It also was the day the nation's largest civil rights organization, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, turned 100. The Western York County NAACP branch held a centennial celebration at Langrum Branch Baptist Church in York.
"This night is monumental. It's great. People are celebrating this night across the country" said Steve Love, President of the Western York County branch.
Love said he felt honored to be part of the NAACP.
"To be part of the biggest civil rights organization in the world, it's exciting. It's been a grassroots organization. People saw changes that needed to be made in their communities and they stuck with it," Love said.
The Western York County branch is one of two in the county, the other is located in Rock Hill, Love said.
The group also used the occasion to celebrate advancements made in African-American education over the last century.
"It's an opportunity to celebrate some of the elder educators in York and Clover," Love said.
The event, attended by around 100 people, featured hymns, scripture readings and musical performances, and was headlined by keynote speaker, Dr. Russell Booker, Superintendent of the York School District.
"When you look at what this country has been through in the past 100 years, we have a lot to be proud of, not just for African-Americans, but for everyone," Booker said. "We are where we are today because of the sacrifices of a lot of people...a lot of organizations. The NAACP is one of those organizations and for them to think enough of me to have me speak on this occasion, I'm honored."
Booker talked about the civil rights movement; the 13th Amendment to the Constitution outlawing slavery in 1865, the NAACP founding in 1909, desegregation of Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., in 1957, and President Barack Obama being sworn into office in January.
Booker also talked about how the NAACP still has work to do, including lowering the continually rising African-American unemployment rate and pushing education system improvements.
Pastor Osbey Roddey was pleased the celebration was held at his church.
"So many people, even the unsung heroes, though we may not remember their names or know who they are, they all worked to make this happen," Roddey said.