Left to right: Judge Raymond Pace Alexander, Joan Crawford, Wilma Rudolph, and Arthur Spingarn at the 12th Annual Philadelphia Cotillion Society Affair

Credit Line
John W. Mosley Photograph Collection, Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection, Temple University Libraries, Philadelphia, PA.

These two photographs document the presentation of the Cross of Malta humanitarian award ceremony that took place every year at the Philadelphia Cotillion Society Ball. Judge Raymond Pace Alexander (1898–1974), the tall man at the far right and left of each picture) presented these awards with citations to honor significant contributions to the advancement of human rights.

At right, Alexander presents the Cross of Malta to Olympic track and field medalist Wilma Rudolph (1940–1994) at the 1961 event. Actress Joan Crawford (1905–1977) attended in the gala evening, as did civil rights activist Arthur B. Spingarn (1878–1971).

At left are VIPs of the 1960 event. Eugene Edmond Jones (head down) founded the Cotillion Society Ball and was executive director of Heritage House, which provided educational and cultural opportunities to underprivileged black people. E. Washington Rhodes (looking to the right) was a publisher of the Philadelphia Tribune. Asa Phillip Randolph was a pioneer labor leader and organizer of the 1963 March on Washington. He also founded the League for Nonviolent Civil Disobedience against Military Segregation that forced President Truman to ban racial segregation in the US Armed Forces. Randolph was awarded and is wearing the Jeweled Cross of Malta. Mayor Richardson Dilworth, Philadelphia’s mayor from 1956 to 1962, was known for his integrity and support of civil rights; he wears L’Ouverture Cross award for his contributions to human rights. Two unidentified men stand next to Randolph, with Alexander on the far right.

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