Diversification of the membership of the Charleston Branch of the NAACP has helped earn Dot Scott national recognition.

Scott, president of the branch, was named the first winner of the Rupert Richardson Memorial Leadership Award, which was presented Sunday at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's convention in New York.

"It was awesome," Scott said Friday after returning home from the convention. She said she was told just prior to the ceremony she would be getting an award but had no idea it was of such significance.

She said what thrilled her the most was that the award was for "the kind of things that I am most proud of," such as the fact that a quarter of the new members she has brought into the Charleston branch are not black.

She said she hopes to continue her diversification efforts, which, she added, have made it easier for the branch to work with other area organizations.

The award is named for the late Mrs. Rupert Richardson, who served as president of the Louisiana State Conference of the NAACP for 16 years and as president of its national board. Sponsored by her family, the award recognizes NAACP members who exemplify excellence, commitment, professionalism, progress, innovation and youth development.

The NAACP said Scott was recognized because under her leadership the Charleston branch and its programs have grown. She established a staffed branch office, expanded the branch's Youth Council outreach, grew the branch's Freedom Fund Banquet into the state's largest, and gave consistent support to the programs of the state and national NAACP.

She also was recognized for her collaborative work with other grass-roots organizations in building successful opposition to Private School Choice legislation that was tabled in the most recent session of the S.C. Senate.