The Clearwater/Upper Pinellas Branch of the NAACP held its 44th annual Freedom Fund Banquet on June 1st at Ruth Eckerd Hall. Former Tarpon Springs mayor David Archie served as the master of ceremonies. Marva McWhite is the president of the local chapter. The keynote address was provided by Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP. It was also a special honor to have Clearwater’s own Leon Russell, national chairman of the NAACP Board of Directors, at the banquet to introduce President Johnson. Freedom Fund banquets are held by local NAACP chapters to support youth-oriented education programs and activities.