NAACP gala toasts Brown v. Board pioneers

Julian Bond, chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, left, with his wife, Pam Horowitz, center, looking on, signs artwork Monday commemorating the 50th anniversary of Brown vs. the Board of Education.Lawrence Jackson / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

The NAACP honored comedian Bill Cosby and former President Jimmy Carter on Monday at a black-tie gala commemorating the Brown v. Board of Education ruling 50 years ago.

The celebration included tributes to lawyers and plaintiffs who laid the groundwork for the landmark decision that desegregated schools. The event also honored Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, who led the team of attorneys arguing the case.

Kweisi Mfume, president of the NAACP, called the Brown decision "a rare moment of accomplishment that helped move our nation toward achievement of its ideals." He added, though, that more needs to be done to prevent segregation in schools today.

Cosby and his wife Camille were among several recognized at the event for their contributions. They were given an award for promoting black education by donating money to black colleges.

Carter received a human civil rights award for his efforts toward peace in the Middle East and for his work in other international and national policy issues. Earl G. Graves was given an award for founding and publishing the magazine Black Enterprise, the business publication.

The event was hosted by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, its legal defense fund and Howard University.