The Museum Board sponsored the following memorial page in the program for a Martin Luther King Breakfast held in Smithfield, NC, January 20, 2014
In Loving Memory of Ava Lavinia Gardner (1922-1990)
Johnston County native | Lifelong Democratic Party supporter | Champion of Civil Rights
Awarded Life Membership in NAACP, 1968 | Co-Chair, Free Southern Dinner Theater, 1969
These photographs were taken at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York, May 11, 1969, during the Free Southern Dinner Theater, a fund-raiser to “make theater available, useful, and relevant to the lives of the people in poor, black communities of the rural and urban South.” Top Left, Ava with Duke Ellington and her dear friend Lena Horne; Top Right, with event Co-Chairman Bill Cosby; Bottom, with Brock Peters and close friend Gregory Peck (both starred in To Kill a Mockingbird).