New York Urban League Honors Susan Dryfoos, Bill Lewis And Jessye Norman At Annual Feederick Douglass Awards Dinner

Four-time Grammy Award-winning American opera singer Jessye Norman, Oscar nominated Director, Writer, Producer Susan W. Dryfoos and Co-Chairman of Investment Banking at Lazard Frères Ltd, an investment banking firm, William M. Lewis, Jr. were honored recently by the New York Urban League (NYUL) for outstanding contribution in their respective fields.  The presentation took place during the 44th Annual Frederick Douglass Awards Dinner, held at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York City.

The black tie gala brought together a diverse and esteemed gathering of corporate executives, celebrities, community leaders and elected officials including Kenneth Chenault, Chairman & CEO of American Express Company; Vernon Jordan, Jr., Senior Managing Director of Lazard; Dr. John Maeda, President of Rhode Island School of Design and Actress Lynn Whitfield.

The Fredrick Douglass Awards Dinner was first held in 1965 to acknowledge and honor leaders in the private and public sectors whose contributions to society serve to eliminate racial barriers and promote opportunities for the disadvantaged. The award was named in honor of Frederick Douglass, a former slave who escaped to freedom to become one of the nation’s most prominent and influential abolitionists.

Proceeds from the event each year enable the New York Urban league to positively impact the lives of more than 15,000 directly and 35,000 indirectly under-resourced residents.

In her remarks, newly appointed CEO and President Arva Rice said she was humbled to be part of the celebration and lauded the honorees for their vast accomplishments.  She told the distinguished audience she is honored to lead the 90 year old organization, adding that the League has made significant contributions to NYC Life and will continue to do so for the next 90 years.  “We are committed to developing research based employment and education programs to serve youth, adults and seniors.  We will provide supplemental and parent education to help young people reach their full potential,” noted Rice.