Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Black History Story about Black Migration

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Jackie V. ‘Rip’ Eichelberger
February is the month to celebrate Black History and to continue to educate about untold stories that are hidden in the history books of American History. The 2019 theme is Black Migration. The focus at the Winston County Library is on local residents who migrated from Winston County in the 50s and 60s, however, most have returned after retirement. The story focused here is about one native who did not return yet but plans to within two years. His story is featured in the Black History Exhibit at the Winston County Library, 301 West Park Street, Louisville, MS, 662-773-3212.

Jackie V. (“Rip”) Eichelberger is an entrepreneur. Born, raised and educated in Louisville, Mississippi. He went to Camille Street High School through his junior year, but graduated in his senior year from Louisville High School 1n 1971 after desegregation. He furthered his education at Mississippi Valley State College.

In 1972, he became employed by Taylor Machine Works in the position of shear operator until 1974 when the workers went on strike. Although the strike ended in 1974, now a father, he sought temporary jobs to support himself and his family. Lack of Finances forced him to make a move to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

After being in Milwaukee for about two weeks, Jackie found employment at Aqua-Chemicals where he worked for two and a half years as an overhead crane operator. When he faced another layoff, he found gainful employment with P&H Harnischfeger as an overhead crane operator for five years, not missing a day. On his five-year anniversary, he received a final paycheck and a layoff notice. He was tired of the strikes and layoffs, thus setting him on the road to become a small businessman and entrepreneur.

The culmination of the education and employment led him through studying, training, teaching and competing in Martial Arts, Tae Kwon Do (karate), under Jae Kyu Lee, a ninth-degree Black Belt from Korea resulted in receiving a fourth-degree black belt. After competing in tournaments and full contact karate for many years, he opened Rip’s Black Academy. Now, as a business development consultant, he is involved in building small businesses in many diverse platforms nationwide.

As an entrepreneur, he has been blessed to eagerly pursue many business opportunities, just to name a few: a restaurateur, a vending machines owner, and a licensed home improvement contractor.

Today, he is a minister. All the things that he has done and will continue to do would not have been possible without his relationship and faith in the Lord. Isaiah 40:31 “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.” He is a devoted father of three adult children and grandfather to four grandchildren whom he adores. He continues to reside in Milwaukee, WI.

Submitted by: Elmetra Patterson