Ward Chapel AME Church hosted an appreciation service for one of Peoria’s Civil Rights icons and Church member, Mrs. Pearly Bonds on Saturday, June 30, 2018. Born in October 1923, Mrs. Bonds has dedicated her life to the cause of civil rights, her community, and her Church. During her lifetime she has received many awards and accolades. Among them: NAACP 25 Years or more Service Diploma; Officer Certificate of Steward Board, Ward Chapel; African American Hall of Fame Inductee; Certificate of Recognition, United Usher Board; Rosa Parks Award, King Holiday Day Committee; and Valeska S. Hinton Human Rights Award. Mrs. Bonds was one of the founding visionaries of the African American Hall of Fame Museum in 1987. She was also instrumental in getting the NAACP building donated from the City of Peoria.
During the celebration family and friends paid tribute with words of love, musical selections, and presentations. The following tribute written in a souvenir booklet came from the family of the Late John and Cozetter Gwynn: On behalf of the Gwynn Family, we would like to congratulate Mrs. Pearly Bonds for being recognized for her tireless dedication and service to Peoria and the African American community. Through her courageous leadership in the NAACP and her diligent devotion to equality and civil rights, Mrs. Bonds has changed policies and uplifted lives. She is a relentless freedom fighter who deserves the admiration and appreciation of the entire community. God Bless You Mrs. Bonds and as John Gwynn often said, “Keep On Keepin’ On.”