Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Black History Exhibit Reception Held

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Honoree Rev. Sylvester Miller and his family at the Black History Exhibit Reception

Friends of Dean Park, Inc. (FODP) sponsored a Black History Exhibit and Reception at Winston County Library on Saturday, February 22, 2020. Rev. Sylvester Miller was honored as a civil rights worker, pastor of two churches, businessman, and owner of Lee's Restaurant in Louisville. The exhibit will be available throughout the month of February. The theme was African Americans and the Vote – the national theme.

The group of approximately 70 people was welcomed by librarian Beth Edwards. Sandra Howze introduced the honoree Rev. Miller. He proceeded to share many stories of his encounters with discrimination in Mississippi as well as in Flint, Michigan when he and family migrated there. He shed tears as he talked about his time in the military and how he was treated after returning to the states to not have the freedom that he fought for. He also shared his success as an educated African American male who taught school for 32 years in Michigan. He talked about his local business as well as businesses that he and his wife had in Michigan. He is the owner of Lee’s Restaurant of Louisville and invited people to visit. It is available to rent for parties, reunions, meeting, and there is an All You Can Eat Buffet on Sundays.

Young adult Tremond Miller, a coach in the Starkville School District, spoke about voting as it relates to what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and others marched about. He spoke about the Voters Rights Bill of 1965. Dr. King’s speech given May 17, 1957 during the Prayer Pilgrimage March about Give us the Ballot was mentioned.

Rosa Sanders was present for the signing of her book A Journey without A Destination which was published November 2019. It can be found on Amazon. According to a preview by the author, the book is about three sisters who lived in South Carolina who were sold as slaves to a master in Mississippi. They were able to escape from him, ride a ferry as Stole-Away, swim the Mississippi River, hide in the woods and make it to a place that they had never heard of. They worked in fields with other slaves until they were able to travel to Mississippi. They married and started a community of their own which is now called the Hathorn Community in Noxapater, MS.

Elmetra Patterson, curator of the exhibit and president of FODP, gave a synopsis of the exhibit and a tour of the library followed. She thanked Walmart and Atty. Linda Hampton for their donations which helped with food, drinks and art supplies for the exhibit.

Since the theme this year is African Americans and the Vote, FODP acknowledged the Winston County Voter and Education League's achievements throughout the month of February. The league’s success stories include:

• Partnered with others in a lawsuit to redistrict the county which resulted in two black majority districts

• Successfully worked to elect the first black candidates, deceased Supervisor Larry Miller and deceased Election Commissioner Helen Hathorn in District 4

• Successfully negotiated with the NAACP and Louisville officials that led to changes from at large wards to 2 majority black wards. This led to the election of the first black alderman, Billy Metts and later, deceased Rev. D. A. Moore, Bessie Love and Eugene Crosby

• Successfully worked to elect the first black school board member, Charles Holmes; followed by Annette Jernigan, Larry Baker and Cathy Edwards

• Supported a strong slate of minority candidates pursuing the offices of Circuit Clerk, Chancery Clerk, Tax Assessor, Justice Court Judges and Sheriff. This effort resulted in the election of Robert Beck as Justice Court Judge and Walter Coburn as sheriff.

The Winston County Voter and Education League is seeking new members and volunteers to help register and educate voters for the upcoming election which is crucial to our community.

The FODP thanked all who attended. If you are interested in joining for their work in the community and at Dean Park, please contact them at: Friends of Dean Park, Inc., P. O. Box 365, Louisville, MS 39339, 510.672-2106.

Submitted by: Elmetra Patterson

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 Rev. Miller with his spouse Tanesha Hampton-Miller

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Rosa A. Sanders, author, speaks about her book

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Coach Tremond Miller speaks about voting