The African American Resources-Culture and Heritage Society [AARCH] introduced 10 new Living Treasures on Saturday at its 11th annual Living Treasures banquet, which honors African Americans in the county who are 90 and older.
In all, 33 African Americans make up the Living Treasures group, which is organized by AARCH, with a number of them in attendance of the banquet at Libertytown Fire Hall.
One by one, the newest members were introduced and recognized by Barbara Thompson, chairperson for the Living Treasures committee and a member of the board of directors for AARCH.
Thompson gave a short background of each newest member and then a video was showed of the individual talking about their life growing up in the area.
Frederick resident, Willie Bea Thompson, 92, was one of the newest members and said it was “great” to be recognized as a Living Treasure.
Thompson said the banquet is put on each year so that the Living Treasures can be honored “as they have lived a life that has been repressed but yet and still they have no hatred. They celebrate who they are and they celebrate their culture.”
She said AARCH celebrates their love and wisdom and is blessed to add more African-American seniors each year.
“They love that we celebrate them,” she said. “Some of them have never been celebrated in a public venue but we love that we can include them in a day of celebration.”
In September, AARCH held a film premiere of the documentary, “The Tale of the Lion” which featured 25 Living Treasures’ firsthand accounts of their stories growing up.
In the film, they also shared their wisdom and insights they have learned over the years.
The film is now entered in a film festival in Atlanta.
The newest Living Treasures include: Estella Smothers Belt, Addie Clark, Reginald Davis, Lester Dorsey, Blanche Duvall, Gloria Thompson, Willie Bea Thompson, Sarah Thompson, Charles Wars Sr., and Lola Williams
“As the chairperson, they’re my sweethearts,” Thompson said of all the members. “I stay in touch with them, I visit with them and I bake for them.”
She said her favorite part of the living treasures is the joy she sees on their faces when they stand to be recognized.
“It’s almost at that moment that they feel validated for all that they’ve been through, all that they’ve endured,” she said. “That’s the absolute beauty of seeing that joy on their face.”
Duvall, 90, said she felt “wonderful” about being introduced, adding that it’s the first time she’s been recognized.
When asked what she’s most looking forward to in being a Living Treasure, she said making friends “and being 91 years old.”