College City Temple #823 celebrated Black History Month on Feb. 24.

The theme for the occasion was: "Honoring the Past, Celebrating Our Heritage Through the Eyes of Youth.”

“Take the victories that our parents and foreparents developed/cherished and teach them to our children,” Dt. (Daughter) Ruler Mildred Woods said in her greeting. Her further statements cited the works of Margaret Burrough titled, “What Shall I Tell My Children Who Are Black?”  

Brother Michael Scales explained the significance of Black History Month.

“We all know that we cannot encapsulate all contributions in one program, one week, one month, or one year,” he said. “But we should never fail to take the time to reflect or pay homage to those who have opened doors of opportunities to this great nation.”

Scales further remarked that, other than the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom also devote a month to Black history.

He closed by paying homage to the “Four Little Girls” who were killed in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, on Sept. 15, 1963.

The importance of our youth was noted throughout the program.

Miss Talladega College, Kyla Williams, and Ramiah Hall entertained the audience with poetry; Kalyn Brock and Bre'Asia Garrett did solo dances; Amaya and Aleya Bowman accompanied each other in song; Shannon Darby gave his interpretation of "God creating the world" with the assistance of thunderous narration; and Alvin Garrett interpreted through sign language "By Myself."

The youth dancers, in white tutus, also appeared angelic/innocent as they performed several numbers.

The children reminded me of the precious lives lost in the Birmingham church bombing, and enslaved youths separated from families and denied an education, worked extra-long hours, degraded.

The guest speaker was Rev. Phoebe Presson, pastor of Jacobs Chapel CME Church in Talladega and the CEO/president of Community Transformation Ministry. Her sermon/speech gave reference to Proverbs 22:6 and Genesis 41.

She also highlighted the Emancipation Proclamation, the Aug. 8, 1965, voters rights legislation, Dr. King's last visit to Memphis, the reported percentage of registered black voters, and that prisons are being built at a rate higher than schools.

She ended by reminding the audience that it is not time for us to be comfortable and to ask the Lord, "Is this where You really want me to be?"

A video of Presson's valued works in under-developed countries was also shown.

In Woods' closing remarks, she admonished the audience to, “Tell somebody, to tell somebody, to tell somebody!”  

March 31 is the deadline for individuals, age 16-20, to apply to participate in the College City #823 Beauty Pageant.

April 7 is the deadline for 11th- and 12th-graders to sign up to participate in the College City #823 Oratorical Contest.

For more information, contact Exalted Ruler Martin Curry at 256-493-1969 or Woods at 256-493-2802.

 -- Maxine Beck writes about the African-American community in and around Talladega.