FiveCAP, Inc. conference room to be dedicated to late human rights activist

Mabel R. Williams
Mabel R. Williams

IDLEWILD — A celebration will be held honoring the late human rights activist Mabel R. Williams when FiveCAP, Inc. dedicates the conference room at the Idlewild Historic and Cultural Center in her name.

The dedication ceremony will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 14.

The afternoon will feature a special showing of the documentary “Negroes with Guns,” which details the unique journey the Williams family embarked on in their quest for social justice. Refreshments will be served and memories will be shared.

“Mabel was there when the IHCC was just an idea to making it a reality,” said FiveCAP Executive Director Mary Trucks. “She committed to the project and did whatever was needed. She worked very hard with Michigan State University Museum, Dr. Ronald Stephens and myself to develop the exhibit.”

Williams, who passed away on April 19, 2014 at the age of 82, made her home in Idlewild after living in exile for years in Cuba and China with her husband, Robert F. Williams, and their two sons. The family was forced to flee their home in Monroe, N.C., in 1961, after their work pioneering the civil rights movement in the south during the 1950s and ‘60s landed Robert on the FBI’s Most Wanted list.

Once settled in Lake County, Williams became involved in the community, serving as an active member of MSU Extension and St. Ann’s Catholic Church, acting as project director for the St. Ann’s Lake County Senior Meals program for many years, sitting on the church’s finance board, serving as Lector and Minister of the Eucharist and was a former 10-year member of the Lake County Community Foundation. She also served as a passionate advocate for low-income families on the FiveCAP, Inc. Board of Directors and helped plan and enable positive growth locally as a member of the Lake County Coalition for Economic Progress (formerly Lake County Enterprise Board).

As a member of these latter two boards, Williams was a passionate advocate for the development of a place that celebrated the history of Idlewild and, from these efforts, the Idlewild Historic & Cultural Center was born. She also promoted the legacy of Idlewild as President Emeritus of the Lake County Merry Makers and “Friends of Historic Idlewild.”

“It’s an honor to dedicate the conference room in her name,” Trucks said. “Given the instrumental role she played in making this place happen in the first place, it’s a highly appropriate honor, as well.

“Mabel was well loved in this community. We are pleased to have a place that can bear her name, reminding us all of this amazing person and the work she did in this community, and in furthering human rights worldwide.”

For more information on the ceremony, contact FiveCAP at (231) 757-3785.