The Natchitoches Black Heritage Committee held a Celebration of Black Achievement Feb. 18 with Rev. Brad Holden presiding. The theme was “Achievement: The Backbone of Progress.”
Ronald Presley, Gilda Johnson and Rev. John Williams provided musical interludes during the program. Rev. Welkin Smith greeted guests before they ate a light brunch. Dr. Terrance Vinson then introduced the guest speaker, Rev. Theron Jackson, pastor of Morning Star Baptist Church in Shreveport.
Jackson said he’s started 2017 delivering messages to his congregation themed around the idea of not letting oneself get “hoodwinked.” This revolves around things Jackson has seen in Shreveport, Louisiana and the U.S.
“The further we go down the road the more backwards it feels like we’re going,” he said. “We have people trying to make us believe that up is down and wrong is right. Don’t lose your mind or sensibilities. The real challenge to being a Christian is not being one at church, but being a Christian out of church. There are all manner of diseases killing us today and they need healing and if Christians can’t be purveyors of healing what good is it to be a Christian.”
Jackson said that although national policy may change, the heart of believers never should. “The nation wouldn’t be what it is without our contributions,” he said. “Nothing has happened in the U.S. with just one group of people. All of us have done something: red, white, yellow and black.”
Jackson quoted Muhammed Ali who said, “The ground is no place for a champion.” Jackson then said, “I look at the African American community, a people who’ve taken racism and Jim Crowe’s best punches and kept on getting back up.”
Awards were presented to a handful of individuals who’ve gone above and beyond the call of duty to help the Natchitoches community. Clara Caldwell, Mike Wilson with the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office, Sylvia Morrow as the City of Natchitoches District 3 Councilwoman, Kelvin Porter on behalf of State Rep. Kenny Cox and the Natchitoches Black Heritage Committee presented certificates to each of the honorees. Honorees included:
· Rev. Dr. Elbert Demery Jr. – Christian Service and Leadership
· Rev. Dr. Aill Harris Jr. – Leadership in Christian Service and Music
· Dr. Doris Small – Professional Counseling Award presented by Johnny Cox, Mayor of Coushatta
· Edward Ward Jr. – Man of the Year for 2017 for Community Service
· Attorney Cloyd Benjamin – Achievement in Legal Excellence
· Willie Roberson – Achievement in Housing Development Excellence (Coworker Tameika Farland accepting the honors on Willie’s behalf)
To see all the photos