West End honors Black History makers
By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer
The West End Neighborhood Watch Youth Division celebrated local contributions to Black History during Celebrating Our Own on Feb. 17.
Many who have contributed to Black History in Chilton County and many who were from here and contributed to Black History in other places were recognized during the event.
Several names of those who had made major contributions to Black History in Chilton County but have died were also read.
Each of those honored was the first black person, or one of the first black people, to hold their position in their chosen field.
The event was coordinated by Francine Lewis and a number of volunteers from the West End Neighborhood Watch.
“This was a county effort, so you see people from Maplesville, Jemison, Thorsby, all over Chilton County,” Francine Lewis said. “I thank you from the bottom of my heart for coming out tonight.”
Young people throughout the county performed during the event in dance and song.
Jamaya Anderson and Jerry Lee-Lewis emceed the event and introduced those who were reading short biographies of the honorees.
As each honoree was announced, a brief description of their contributions to Black History was read.
“As I was witnessing the program the thought ran through my mind — education and discipline,” WENW Chairman Paul Dickerson said. “We as black people have come a long way, and we still have a long way to go. As I listened to the persons receiving the awards, I know that there were struggles, many struggles that you had to go through to get done what you have accomplished.”
He emphasized that both education and self-discipline were key elements to achievement and making a difference.
He encouraged those present to care about the children in their community and watch out for them.
Dickerson said there had been adults that “gave us the education and discipline that we needed” when he was young.
Francine Lewis thanked all of those who came and contributed to make it “a wonderful evening.”
“We started this last year,” she said. “I think it gets better and better each year.”
Dickerson closed out the event with a presentation of appreciation to Francine Lewis.