Frederick Douglass Community Association Celebrates 103 Years

Reggie and Wenona Williams with son Zaniel

By Dawn Scotland
The Truth Reporter

The Frederick Douglass Community Association celebrated 103 years of service to the Toledo area on Saturday, September 17, at the Toledo Museum of Art’s Glass Pavilion. The elegant affair was shared with community members, partners and community leaders.

African drummers donned in kente cloths lined the entrance to the glass pavilion Saturday afternoon. Guests poured into the venue to celebrate at the board members’ private welcome preceding the celebration and the cocktail hour following open to the public. The dinner event was attended by over 200 people.

Adam Levine, Toledo Museum of Art Director, provided the welcome. A special video presentation on the Frederick Douglass Community Association featuring FDCA Executive Director Reggie Williams, followed his remarks.

The Mistress of Ceremonies for the evening was Patrice McClellan, PhD, the president and lead strategist of The Ronald Group. She served on the United Way of Greater Toledo’s African American Leadership Council, fundraising for the Children Defense Fund’s Freedom School housed at the Monroe Street Neighborhood Center.

McClellan interrupted the set schedule to present Reggie Williams, who has served as the executive director for the FDCA for eight years, the FDCA President’s Award.

“We wanted to set you apart and give you your award now, ” said McClellan, as Williams, overcome with emotion, received a standing ovation from the crowd.

“My heart is so glad and so full”, said Williams, giving honor to God. “This walk ain’t easy, you’ve got to be about that life… you have to sacrifice a lot of things.” He talked about the long journey at the FDCA, the success of where the organization is now and thanked his wife and family for their love and support. Following his speech, FDCA Board President Albert Earl provided the history of the organization and acknowledgements.

A video tribute was given by Kenneth B. Morris, Jr. co-founder and president of the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives.

Derek Anderson

“Morris descends from two of the most influential names in American history: he is the great great-great grandson of Frederick Douglass and the great great-grandson of Booker T.  Washington,” said McCullen in her introduction. “Ken continues his family’s legacy of anti slavery and educational work as co-founder and president of the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives, a nonprofit organization based in Rochester, New York. His career and life path have been driven by a clear focus on Frederick Douglass Family Initiative’s mission, ‘To Build Strong Children and to end systems of exploitation and oppression.’”

Morris expressed the importance of those legacies and the work his organization is doing today in his remarks.

Derek L. Anderson, high school champion, Gold Medal Olympian, NCAA champion,  NBA world champion and author, served as the keynote speaker. Anderson’s early life gave him an inner strength to succeed, he said.  He spoke of his tumultuous upbringing that molded him for his future success: from being a teenage father to professional athlete and author.

He attributes his success “by knowing how to lead when necessary and to also learn how to be a team player for everyone to win.”  He now shares his journey in his Amazon best selling book, Stamina. The autobiography shows how he made the decision to self-educate himself and stay the course. His belief is that committing to “working harder than anyone else will ultimately determine your future and whatever you put in your mind is EXACTLY what you will receive in life.”

The board members awarded five esteemed individuals special presentations for their support and dedication to the FDCA.

The Frederick Douglass Community Association Awards 2022:

  • Richard Quinney, board member and long-time volunteer at FDCA
  • Dianna Jacobs, Infant Mortality Coordinator at FDCA
  • Doug Jones, FDCA athletic coordinator
  • Reggie Williams, executive director of the FDCA
  • Pastor Timothy Pettaway Sr., lead pastor of Walk the Word Church (supporter of FDCA)

Following the award presentations, acknowledgements and closing remarks, guests were invited to a book signing with Anderson and open dance with music performed by The Wall Band and by DJ Mpress. Food was catered by Decadent Catering by Audrey Ransey.

The Frederick Douglass Community Association was founded in Toledo in 1919 by Albertus Brown, the same year during the infamous “Red Summer” when nation-wide anti-black riots were rampant in major cities in the US. The FDCA has been serving the inner city as the epicenter in the heart of the black community for decades.