Education to be focus of local Black History Month celebrations

Published 8:24 am Monday, January 30, 2017

The Winchester Black History and Heritage Committee will host two events in February in recognition of Black History Month.

The local events will reflect the national theme: “The Crisis in Black Education.”

The kick-off event for Winchester’s celebration will be at 2 p.m. Saturday. Feb. 11, at the Oliver Community Center, 30 Oliver Street.

James S. Long, a retired jockey with 33 years of experience, will discuss “The Black Past: Remembered and Reclaimed.”

In keeping with the national theme, the second event will be “The Crisis in Black Education” presented by Dr. Roger Cleveland, president and lead consultant for Millenium Learning Concepts. The event will be at 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25, at Broadway Baptist Church, 121 W. Broadway St.

Millenium Learning Concepts provides service involving equity in schools, including culture and equity assessments, scholastic assessments and developing quality leadership in school. Cleveland has conducted trainings addressing equity and culture issues in cities like Las Vegas and Columbia, South Carolina.

In 2014, he was inducted into the Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame.

Winchester Black History and Heritage Committee Chairperson Joyce Morton said the theme of this year’s celebration is not just about traditional education, but about making sure African-Americans know their history.

“Our motto this year is ‘If we don’t tell them, they don’t know,’” she said. “With so many people that we meet, we find that we don’t know our own story. So, our charge has been to find things to tell about our story.”

Morton said the committee particularly is interested in educating the younger generation.

“We want to get our children out to these events,” she said. “We want our children to be involved.”

Morton said the committee’s mission is to break down some of the negative images of African-Americans by better informing the community.

“When we started in 2014, there was nothing but negative images,” she said. “We thought, it’s Black History Month, but what about Winchester? What do we know about Winchester?”

Morton said the committee began researching specific topics about local African-American history.

“We took these categories, like education, or sports, or doctors or lawyers, and started digging,” she said. “And I didn’t know that all these things were right here and we didn’t know all this wonderful information.”

Morton said in the process the committee discovered Winchester had its own Rosa Parks in Jennie Bibbs Didlick.

“We found out that there were black doctors and lawyers and all these things going on,” she said. “I have enjoyed learning about me. We live in Winchester and we contribute to Winchester, we are a part of its history, ours and their’s all together.”

Morton said by doing the research and then sharing the information, the committee is able to dispell myths about their culture and people.

“If people don’t know the truth, they will believe anything they’re taught,” she said. “And on TV, just the negative images. We are more than that.

“Our kids have opportunities our grandparents didn’t have. They can make a contribution, not only to theirselves but to the country.”

About Whitney Leggett

Whitney Leggett is managing editor of The Winchester Sun and Winchester Living magazine. To contact her, email whitney.leggett@winchestersun.com or call 859-759-0049.

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