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Event to honor local Black History

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

West End Neighborhood Watch will be observing Black History Month with a special event on Feb. 24.

“Celebrating Our Own: We Honor You” will be held at 4 p.m. at the E. M. Henry Community Center.

“We will be honoring a few individuals that we know have made Black History in Chilton County, all the areas of Chilton County,” organizer Francine Lewis said.

Potential honorees to be recognized at the event have been sent invitations and those who respond will be honored this year.

“We are looking to honor 15 to 20 individuals that night in a number of areas,” Lewis said.

The potential honorees’ areas of influence range from education to sports to social services.

“They have been a significant part in paving ways for many of our young people,” Lewis said.

Those who do not respond this year will be kept in mind for next year.

Lewis, who heads up the West End Neighborhood Watch Youth Division, has youth scheduled to perform during the event.

Performances will include dance, poetry, singing and one of Martin Luther King Jr.’s speeches.

“We are looking to have a good time,” Lewis said.

Dinner will also be served. The event is free, but RSVP is requested by emailing Lewis at ladyfaithful73@yahoo.com, sending a message on the West End Neighborhood Watch Facebook page or telling a Neighborhood Watch member.

Lewis said she personally began “in 2011 researching those who had made Black History in Chilton County.”

The “Celebrating Our Own” event came from wanting African-American youth in Chilton County to know and be inspired that there are local history makers, too.

“These people are individuals we see all the time, we’re familiar with them,” Lewis said. “… I want the youth in our community to know, it is someone that is right next to you that contributed to Black History that paved the way for you to do the things you want to do.”

Lewis is interested in hearing about others in Chilton County who have “made Black History” and encourages community members to pass along any information they might have.

The E. M. Henry Community Center is located at 413 14th St. in Clanton.