Students get lesson in state’s Black History
By CHRIS BURROUGHS, Eagle Reporter
Jesse Owens, Nat King Cole, Joe Louis.
They are names that have become famous in America and, in the world. Historian Dr. Richard Bailey was in Sumiton Tuesday to tell an audience of students that these famous figures were not only African-Americans, but Alabamians.
Bailey was the featured speaker at the African-American History Convocation hosted by Bevill State Community College. Students from West Jefferson School, Dora High School and Sumiton Christian School were treated to a program of music and speeches from Bailey and Dr. Ethel Hall, vice-president of the Alabama State Board of Education.
Bailey is from Montgomery and has a Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts from Alabama State University, a Master of Arts from Atlanta University and a Doctor of Philosophy from Kansas State University. He was appointed by former Gov. George Wallace to the DeSoto Commission, a group retracing the route of Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto in Alabama.
“This is a big event inside our college,” said college president Dr. Harold Wade. “Part of our mission, part of the role of our college is to teach people how to work together, live together and respect each other as we live together in this country.”
Hall said she thought of a story to tell, the students of how; important African–American history is to history in general. She told of a young boy who asked his mother what the world would be like if there were no black people. The mother told her son to get ready and she would try to show him. As he got ready and went out in the world, he began to discover things like shoes, combs, elevators, and light bulbs were missing. All of these items, or the things that create them, were invented by black people.
“If you ever wonder what the world would be like without black people, it’s pretty plain to see that you would, be in the dark,” Hall said.
Bailey came to the podium and talked to the students about people from Alabama, both famous and some not-so-famous…
Mountain Eagle, Jasper AL
February 14, 2001