For Black History Month, the Harrodsburg Herald asked Mercer County residents to name the members of the African American community they admire the most and explain why.
Sindicat “Sid” Dunn, a radio personality and the longest serving member of the Burgin City Council, didn’t go far from home. Dunn said he admires his grandmother, Ruby Dunn, the most.
“She did so much for our community, but what I remember most is that she was always smiling,” said Dunn.
Dunn was a founding participant for Head Start and the Community Action Program and served as director for what is now known as the Ruby Dunn Senior Citizens Center for 34 years. She was a lifelong member of the Loyal Benevolent Society No. 3, the Harrod Homemakers, the West Side High School Reunion Committee, was named a Kentucky Colonel, plus other community outreach programs. She passed away in 2014. But for all her achievements, her grandson said it is what she accomplished at home that he remembers most fondly.
“For me, it was how she held our family together with her Sunday dinners,” he said. “Everyone came and left full and she always had a smile.”
Saxophone player Sam Carr said he was inspired by a trumpet player. Carr has a band, Blue Groove Jazz, and he also serves as the driving force behind the Fort Harrod Jazz Festival and as president of the Mercer Chamber of Commerce board of directors. For him, it is all about Miles Davis. Davis, a jazz trumpeter, bandleader and composer, is listed among the most influential and acclaimed figures in the history of jazz and 20th-century music.
“Miles Davis had such a great influence for so many jazz musicians,” said Carr. “He persevered through discrimination and guided many musicians to fame.”
Davis worked with almost everyone in his long career, from Charlie Parker to John Coltrane, Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, Bob Dylan, Run-D.M.C., Hall and Oates and George Clinton, among many others. Davis won eight Grammies and is among the bestselling jazz artists of all time.
“He personally influenced me with my music as a jazz musician,” said Carr. “He was a trendsetter and pioneer.”
Robin Cotten, health program administrator for Kentucky Department for Public Health, said her choice is gospel singer CeCe Winans.
“She is an incredible woman of faith with a passion to share the gospel,” said Cotten.
Winans has won 12 Grammy Awards and 23 GMA Dove Awards. She is the bestselling Gospel artist of all time.
“She is a true light for women young and old by reminding them of what a precious gift they are to God,” said Cotten. “Her work reminds us we are loved and pointing us to walk with our talents and anointing that God created within them these gifts.”
As part of the continuing celebration of Black History Month, the Harrodsburg Herald asks readers to tell us who they admire by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.