Mercer County Celebrates African-American History Month

What’s Happening In February

Pamela R. Goodwine, newly elected judge of the Court of Appeals 5th Appellate District, 1st Division, will serve as keynote speaker at the 5th Annual Black History Month Gala On Saturday, Feb. 23, at Lion’s Park Community Center.

Jennifer Marsh

Herald Staff

[email protected]

Friday, Feb. 1, marks the beginning of African American History Month and Mercer County is celebrating in a variety of ways.

The 3rd Annual Black History Month Heritage Prayer Breakfast will be Saturday, Feb. 2 starting at 9 a.m. at Centennial Baptist Church, located at 291 West Lane. The cost is $6 and proceeds support community events and scholarships Guest speakers will be Rev. Virgil Hill of First Baptist Church, Rev. Greg Johnson of Centennial Baptist Church and Rev. Kenneth Golphin of St. Peter AME Church.

The 5th Annual Black History Month Annual Gala will be held Saturday, Feb. 23, at 6:30 p.m. at Lion’s Park Community Center on East Factory Street. The black tie affair is presented by the West Lane Park Board and will feature keynote speaker Pamela R. Goodwine, the newly elected judge of the Court of Appeals 5th Appellate District, 1st Division.

There will also be music, dancing and comedy. The cost is $30 per person. Contact Lolita Short at 613-3342, Maureen ‘Sissy’ Dunn at 612-1697 or Kathryn VanDyke at 859-420-0769 for more information.

The Mercer County Public Library will be showing free weekly movie matinees at 2:30 p.m. on Sundays starting Sunday, Feb. 3.

On Sunday, Feb. 17 a guest speaker, Ron Spriggs, will discuss the Tuskegee Airmen at 1:30 p.m.

Mercer County Senior High School is holding a Black History program consisting of student performances and guest speaker D. Smith, beginning on Friday, Feb. 15 at 10:45 a.m. in the gymnasium.

Praise dancers Zharia Yeast, Shyanna Bartleson, Cherish Kavanaugh, Audrey Atkins and Zhunai Yeast performed at last year’s gala.

Campbellsville University is dedicating their chapel series to African American history as well as holding weekly movie and discussions nights starting on Wednesday, Feb. 6, at 7 p.m. at the Vivian Landrum Chapel as part of the Unity in the Community series.

African American History Month started as Negro History Week in 1926. It was created by historian Carter G. Woodson, a native of Virginia and a graduate of Berea College in Kentucky. Woodson promoted the week through the organization he founded, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, selecting the second week of February because it coincided with the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.

As the celebration of Negro History Week spread across the country, leading to the creation of black history clubs, as well as an increase in interest among educators and historians, both black and white.

When Carter came up with the idea, it was met with little enthusiasm. He found many African Americans were as ignorant of their contribution to American history as whites. “Those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history,” Woodson wrote.

In 1976, the year the U.S. celebrated its bicentennial,  President Gerald Ford officially recognized February as Black History Month. Since then, it has spread to other nations, including the United Kingdom, Canada and the Republic of Ireland.  For more information visit https://africanamericanhistorymonth.gov.

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