It was a sea of black and gold as hundreds gathered to celebrate those who have given back to Pine Bluff. The men of Delta Sigma Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. hosted their annual All Black Affair with a Touch of Gold Friday at the Pine Bluff Convention Center.

It was a sea of black and gold as hundreds gathered to celebrate those who have given back to Pine Bluff. The men of Delta Sigma Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. hosted their annual All Black Affair with a Touch of Gold Friday at the Pine Bluff Convention Center.

“It’s a tremendous statement that Pine Bluff and Jefferson County supports organizations like this and activities,” said Earnest Brown, Jr., Delta Sigma Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. president. “And like so many of the honorees said, there’s so much good coming into Pine Bluff. Everybody came out and had a good time and enjoyed themselves and also contributed to a good cause.”

The monies raised from the fundraiser will go toward two scholarship funds and various activities as part of the Southeast Arkansas Jewel Foundation, according to Brown. Any high school senior from Pine Bluff or Jefferson County can apply.

“We hope as we continue to grow, we keep our ticket prices affordable, but we want to be able to offer more to our students,” said Brown of the $30 ticket admission.

Ford Trotter, Marty Casteel, Scott Pitillo, Mary Liddell, Sissy Jones, Carolyn Blakely, and Ryan Watley were among the honorees. The President’s Award was given to Artis Mendenhall.

“… Pine Bluff, this award is really for you,” said Go Forward Pine Bluff CEO Ryan Watley. “You have really had an impact on my life from playing baseball in Townsend Park from the intercontinental football league at Pine Bluff High School on Saturday mornings to being a ball boy at Pumphrey Stadium to my pursuits of academia and football at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff as a student-athlete. You have really blessed me and if no one else appreciates you, I do.”

Sissy Jones, founder of Sissy’s Log Cabin, had the crowd in knots as she talked about her love for fine jewelry in comparison to be honored as a community jewel by the Southeast Arkansas Jewel Foundation.

“Being a jewel is really important,” Jones said. “You know I like jewelry.”

In between keeping a smile on attendees’ faces, she offered encouragement about a place she’s called home for years.

“Every one of you here is a jewel,” she said. “It takes a lot of jewels together to make a fantastic piece and be overwhelmed. But, that’s what Pine Bluff has been to me. In 1960, we moved here. We had a choice, my husband and I. He graduated from Georgia Tech and we came here, because we chose Pine Bluff. We chose it, because it was a vibrant, outgoing place. We came here and got the blessing of The Lord.”

Despite the “slumps” in Pine Bluff’s history, Jones told the crowd the city was set for a comeback asking everyone to do their part in making it happen.

“I want each one tonight to pledge to me that they will go forward with Pine Bluff,” she said. “Be energetic, get on these committees, help these people out [and] do anything you can, because after all one jewel looks awfully plain--- just a little old diamond by itself that’s pitiful. We need to put a cluster around it to be really pretty. So, that means all of us joining together to make a magnificent piece.”