Church hosts Black History Celebration
GRASONVILLE — As attendees of the 14th annual Black History Celebration entered the Grasonville Elementary School cafeteria on Sunday, Feb. 26, they were given a piece of paper containing either a name or a list of facts.
In an exercise to get the more than 40 people moving around and talking to one another, individuals were tasked with finding who their match was. The names ranged from African American politicians to civil rights leaders to athletes and entertainers.
Before the ceremony began, Kent Island New Beginnings Church of God in Christ Pastor Allen Cork, whose church hosted the event, gave attendees the opportunity to view pictures of significant moments throughout his journalism career covering important African Americans and moments. The names included Sugar Ray Leonard, Jesse Jackson, Dick Gregory, Gwen Ifill and Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings.
The history celebration, which lasted about 90 minutes, included various presentations and performances that brought to light the life struggles, determination, courage, strength and unwavering faith that African Americans throughout history had in overcoming social injustices.
Maryland Sen. Nathaniel J. McFadden, senate pro tem and keynote speaker, said the country is best when those before make it better for those to come. He recalled being a student at Morgan State College and not being able to sit at certain lunch counters or attend certain movie theaters, how help wanted ads in the newspaper had separate listings. But because of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and other “other fighters of the civil rights movement, both black and white,” future generations don’t have to have those same experiences.
Adversity, he said, is the United States’ greatest strength.
“If we really want strong communities and a great nation, we need to make education the highest priority,” McFadden said. “A strong educational commitment must be embraced by those who say, ...we are interested in making America great.”
Prior to McFadden’s speech, a poem by an unknown author was read by Jessica Watson called, “I Am Black History,” and Isaiah Shackleford gave a brief history lesson about the “Journey of Reconciliation and the Freedom Riders.”
Naryah Miles, who always performs at the Black History Celebration, sang “Strange Fruit” before Kent Island High School National Honor Society representatives made short remarks.
Midway through the celebration, neon yellow pieces of paper were passed to about half the people in the room. Those given a piece of paper stood at the front of the cafeteria. Each piece had a single lyric written on it, and the audience had to organize the people, without speaking, into the correct order.
The sentence formed read: “What the world needs now, is love sweet love, it’s the only thing, that there’s just, too little of.” Everyone joined in singing the song after the exercise. Cork encouraged everyone to go into their communities to be beacons of light.
Cork presented Good Samaritan Tributes to the Queen Anne’s County Department of Social Services and the Kent Island High School National Honor Society for both of their work in the church’s annual Thanksgiving basket distribution. Social Ser vices works to get names of families in need and the National Honor Society runs a school-wide canned food drive, as well as assembles the final product and goes with church members to distribute the baskets in the community.
American Legion Post 7464 also received a Good Samaritan Tribute for its annual donation that aids in church programs, as well as awards given to Miles, Pastor Tom Leonard and McFadden.
Pastor Tom Leonard and Pastor Allen Cork embrace after Cork gave his peer a Good Samaritan Tribute during the 14th Black History Celebration at Grasonville Elementary School on Sunday, Feb. 26.
Sen. Nathaniel J. McFadden was the keynote speaker at the 14th Black History Celebration held at Grasonville Elementary School.
Representatives from the Kent Island High School National Honor Society accept the Good Samaritan Tribute for their work with the Kent Island New Beginnings Church of God in Christ Thanksgiving basket delivery program.
Amira Kornegay shared facts about former first lady Michelle Obama during the Kent Island New Beginnings Church of God in Christ’s Black History Celebration on Sunday, Feb. 26, at Grasonville Elementary School.