Black history programs draw crowds
Wednesday, March 6, 2013 12:00 AM
Music, skits and various guest speakers were part of Black History Month at separate events at Westside Community Center and Jerusalem Temple.
The Neshoba County NAACP sponsored "Fulfilling the Dream" at Westside, which featured a musical performance by Just 4 Praise, poems, inspirational skits, mime presentations and a special tribute to civil rights pioneer and community activist, Eva Tisdale.
The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the award-winning skit, "Mississippi Burning: The Turning of Mississippi" performed by members of the Neshoba Youth Coalition.
The skit featured four members of the coalition, representing historic figures who made a difference in the state civil rights history, telling a fifth what they've done to right the wrongs of the past.
Four actors took on the roles of some historic figures in the state's past including former Neshoba Democrat Editor and Publisher Stanley Dearman, former Mississippi Secretary of State Dick Molpus, Jewel McDonald whose mother and brother were beaten by the Klu Klux Klan and current NAACP President Leroy Clemons.
The fifth actor played the role of Edgar Ray Killen.
After the skit, attendees listened to guest speaker Liminski Patrick, who spoke about how the past should be treated and its role as a guide to the future.
"History is a study of humanity's past," he said. "We should forget what is behind us and reach for what is before us."
He advocated the teaching of not just slavery's role in the history of African Americans, but also the roles African Americans played throughout our history including the fact that African Americans invented the umbrella, ironing board, mousetrap and also performed the first open heart surgery.
"The momentum can stop if we dwell too long," Patrick said.
He noted the continuing problems facing African Americans and noted that lamenting over them would not solve them.
The evening ended with Mayor James Young presenting a proclamation from President Barack Obama naming February as National African American History Month.
The final celebration took place at Jerusalem Temple where a "We Are One" program was held with a packed house in attendance.
It began with a group called "Black Men in Unity" marching into the church sanctuary.
Kenisha Murrell sang "Soon I Will Be Done" followed by an inspirational speech by Deacon Robert Kirkland.
Many performances from the Westside community event were repeated, but several new performances were also presented.
One in particular was a historic skit about the Tuskegee Airmen, which was presented with much applause.
The speaker for the evening was Gloria Hadley.
The event closed with a unity prayer.