On Wednesday, August 28th, the First Baptist Church of Glenarden hosted the National Urban League during their annual conference, to help them celebrate their 100th anniversary. This was a rare occasion, and there were plenty of special guests to commemorate the event.

Amongst the members and the president of the National Urban League, Mark Moriel (in the center, holding the poster), were my pastor, John K. Jenkins (shorty to the left in a red tie), County Executive Jack Johnson and Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley.

About the National Urban League:
The National Urban League is a historic civil rights organization dedicated to economic empowerment in order to elevate the standard of living in historically underserved urban communities. Founded in 1910 and headquartered in New York City, the National Urban League spearheads the efforts of its local affiliates through the development of programs, public policy research and advocacy. Today, there are more than 100 local affiliates in 36 states and the District of Columbia, providing direct services that impact and improve the lives of more than 2 million people nationwide.
So, in essence, the NUL is like the NAACP for economic empowerment. I’m down with that, and apparently, so is Gov. Martin O’Malley below. Better looking than I thought.
And now, who I really came to see. And hear. And photograph. Maya Angelou.

She was a lot smaller than I expected her to be, and needed help entering the stage.

And…Common! Although I was more excited to see Maya, that guy is really, really, really good-looking. And he has the deep voice going for him. He can’t lose.

To be honest, Maya’s voice may have actually been deeper. And believe it or not, she sang for a bit.

They both performed an alternating spoken word piece and it was beautiful. They spoke about the black experience from the start of the National Urban League in 1910 and the trials of black Americans through today. The audience hung on Maya’s every word.

Cornell West and Jesse Jackson were there too. I showed this picture to my co-worker and she said, “Mm, Jesse Jackson has gotten fat.”

But Common hasn’t.

Anyway, Common and Maya were awesome, they really were. When would I ever get this opportunity again?

Happy I had the chance to photograph and experience these great, great people,