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Freedom Fund Banquet Honoree: Roxie Royal

From sharecropping to social work: spirituality, social justice, community and education are just a few core values that Roxie Willa Dean Monk Royal embodied. As the sole child of the Karoh Jane Williams and Charlie Davis Monk, she was born on June 21, 1930, in Roseboro North Carolina. No stranger to the cotton and tobacco fields of the South nor the apple orchards of the North, she began migrating to the Hudson Valley at the tender age of seven years old.

Marrying her passions to serve on both medical and social fronts, Mother Royal took to the community scene relentlessly, serving as a community organizer and a human services professional. After becoming the first Black Chairwoman of the Parent Teachers Association in Newburgh, N.Y., Mother Royal, a passionate writer, became a member of the Board of The Times Herald-Record and wrote several articles for the Newburgh Black Press. Determined to advocate for her community, Mother Royal took on several political roles. She served as the Chairperson of both the Orange County Democratic Committee as well as the City of Newburgh’s Democratic Committee. Additionally, Mother Royal was a committed member of the NAACP serving as the: Church Committee Chairperson, First and Second Vice President, Political Action Chairperson, and even become a member of the NAACP’s “One Hundred Club” for obtaining 100 memberships within a year.

Although much of Mother Royal’s community activism was in service of the Lord and without any monetary compensation, she was chosen to become the Community Organizer of the Governor’s Demonstration Anti-Drug Project in Newburgh, in a time when the beautiful City of Newburgh was know as “crack alley". Whether she was leading anti-drug marches throughout the “roughest” streets in Newburgh, or coordinating such events as the Newburgh Run/Walk Against Drugs, Mother Royal was eager to roll up her sleeves and share the treasure that is hidden within her, the Holy Spirit. Since migrating to Newburgh, NY, and after a brief search, Mother Royal found her church home at the small storefront church on Colden St. called Mt. Carmel Church of God in Christ Disciples of Christ, where she had been a dedicated member for over 60 years.

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