Black history program honors legacy, promotes unity

Published 2:55 am Saturday, March 2, 2024

By Daniya Jones and Haley Mitchell Godwin 

Special to The Luverne Journal

Brantley School hosted their annual Black History Program Feb. 21. Dedicated to illuminating the rich history and culture of African Americans, the event featured students participating in various forms of expression including poetry recitation, singing and more. Students also presented research on notable African American figures.

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The program, organized by Teresa Richardson, with assistance from Jasmine Doresy, included a presentation by the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority in honor of their late sorority sister, LaKenya Anderson (Peachez).

Anderson, a 2000 graduate of Brantley High School, was tragically killed in an automobile accident June 18, 2023. Anderson’s memory was also honored through a service project where the sorority gifted over one hundred African American written or African American history related books to Brantley School’s library.

According to Ann Shakespeare, Co-Chair of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Anderson was a caring, dedicated, and faithful member of the sorority.

“We wanted to do something that the community could benefit from, while emphasizing our theme ‘Knowledge is Power’ and recognizing Black History Month,” Shakespeare said. “We knew LaKenya had a son who attends Brantley School so it was a no-brainer to do a service project that would support the community, promote education and show her son that reading to obtain knowledge about his rich heritage is important. It was our chapter’s pleasure to do this for LaKenya, her family and all the students at Brantley School.”

The program emphasized the importance of unity and change through powerful, student-led program where Guest speaker Willie White, pastor at African Methodist Episcopal Church in Enterprise, spoke about the significance of black history, the importance of dreams and the perseverance required to achieve them, encouraging the audience to dream big.

“These programs help us learn about what it took for our ancestors, our forefathers to succeed,” White said. “Black History Month is to celebrate those that came before us, their determination, and their reaching their destination by dreaming big. You have to dream. You will never have a dream come true if you don’t dream. Dream big starting now young people. Take advantage of your support systems, the faculty, and staff here at Brantley that want to see you dream big. Connect with other dreamers who want to make a difference, and one big dream will lead to an even bigger one.”

Principal Marcus Taylor closed out the program.

“My hope for every student in this building is that you dream big,” Taylor said. “There are some things that should not inhibit your dreams: the color of your skin does not matter; your economic status does not matter and where you come from does not matter whenever you are forming our dreams. You dream as big as you want to dream and as Rev. White said, surround yourself with other dreamers. Doing so is essential. Don’t let the people you surround yourself with affect your dreams or potential.”