Dr. Webb Evans has been president of the United American Progress Association for 48 years, but his message to “buy black” and support the black community has been his focus for most of his 96 years. Yes, he is 96 years young with the energy of a 20-year-old and the appearance of 50-year-old.
On Oct. 18, his organization hosted its 48th anniversary banquet and honored Oak Parkers John and Maggie Anderson who dedicated themselves to do most of their spending this year with black-owned businesses.
Maggie Anderson, an attorney, is CEO and founder of The Empowerment Experiment and her husband is a financial planner. Mr. and Mrs. Anderson were honored as the Man & Woman of the Year.
The UAPA Student of the Year was Chelby Burgess, recognized for her outstanding scholastic achievements. She graduated from DeLaSalle Institute in May where she ranked sixth in her class and had a 4.3 gpa. She is now attending the University of Illinois, in Urbana/Champaign.
Evans and his sister, Bernice Lynch, showed their appreciation to all of the guests by visiting and taking photos at every table.
Lynch was decked out in a beautiful red suit with hat to match and even took to the dance floor when saxophonist Rev. Rahim Chesed Aton performed. Aton is known as “Sax Preacher” and can be heard live on Sundays at Temple of Mercy. His promotional flyers show a photo of him with President Obama.
The emcee duties were performed by Rasheed Ansar, also from Temple of Mercy, located at 1716 W. 79th St.
Evans paid special tribute to his longtime friend in the audience Mrs. Hattie Carter, who will turn 101 on Nov. 1. He talked about how she had been the hair stylist of blues great Muddy Waters. Sax Preacher serenaded Mrs. Carter, who waved her hands and smiled as he performed at her table.
One of Evans’ longtime volunteers, Eunice Wigfall, got to sit in the audience this year so Evans came to her table to take photos with her and another friend, Ron Portis, whom he called his “sausage man.” Years ago, Evans owned a store and Portis delivered his sausage meats.
Evans said it is important to remember his old friends and people who have stuck by his side over the years, supporting his organization.
The UAPA has accomplishments that include helping farmers from the South sell goods in Chicago, giving financial aid to college students, teaching and inspiring youth to stay in school, donating to Fisk University, and many other philanthropic endeavors. UAPA meets every fourth Monday at 7606 Cottage Grove Ave.
Webb Evans’ message to young people is to come home where their knowledge can help make a difference. He believes the road to economic freedom consists of education, business ownership and proper use of the dollar.