Lions & Legends Dinner: Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League
Lions and Legends
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The Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League hosted a soirée well-suited for the icons it honored at its Lions & Legends dinner in May. A gorgeously turned out Chase Center was at capacity with hard-core city dwellers and city lovers, like Wilmington champions Nichelle DeWitt and Ricky Deadwyler Jr. These two know how to have a good time. Anyone who can capture a photo of Nichelle or Ricky with anything other than a smile on their face will win a most-coveted prize from the Gabby closet.
I got a chance to catch up with William L. Allen and Dr. Kim L. Allen, a rare feat considering the dynamic duo spent time crisscrossing the country thanks to their new book, “It Flows Through Us.” Awarded the League’s James H. Gilliam Jr. Humanitarian Award, the Allens promote a simple concept: “Blessings do flow through you, and if you keep them to yourself and do nothing about it—if you don’t give back—they don’t go anywhere,” Kim said. The Allens certainly let it flow—their passion for children makes them staunch advocates for families that don’t have a voice when it comes to education. “I’m concerned with sustainability,” Bill said. “Any initiatives we put in place for our children, I want them still in place in 40 years.”
I fell into a trance, lulled by Dr. James Newton’s delightful Southern cadence, as he spoke about UD students and the city of Wilmington, which he says has moved in the right direction. “Oh, I was hard-headed like a lot of folks when I was young,” Newton said. “And my mama told me, ‘Do all the good you can as long as you can do good.’ That stayed with me.” As recipient of the League’s James H. Gilliam Sr. Chairman’s Award, the artist overflows with goodwill. With an ornery laugh, he said his favorite class is Black American Studies 110. “That’s my best course,” he says, “because freshmen are in there. And freshmen just have the world by the tail.”
When you talk about Wilmington legends, no conversation is complete without the “Moon,” aka Lawrence Roane. The affable Roane said his Community Service award was unexpected, but to anyone who has witnessed his 30-plus years of volunteer service, it was a no-brainer. “Everything that I do and have done through life, I’m standing on the shoulders of two great people: My mother and my father, who always said, ‘Be careful how you carry yourself because you might be the only Bible some people read.’” Much like his moniker (a woman once told him his round face resembled the Man in the Moon), his father’s word stuck. And we’re all the better for it.