WM Council celebrates community’s black leaders

City holds annual Black History Month ceremony

By John Rech news@theeveningtimes.com

A National Black History celebration unfolded last Thursday at the West Memphis City Council meeting. Councilwoman Lorraine Robinson, as has become her annual task, organized a reception and official recognition of local Civil Rights and business leaders. Robinson provided perspective before handing out the plaques. “As we eye the past and dedicate ourselves to the unfinished and unfulfilled task of creating a just society,” said Robinson. “We owe it to our children and young people to be educated. People consciously acting together can achieve justice.” Before honoring local Civil Rights leaders, Robinson quoted the autobiography of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., calling him Civil RIghts’ greatest leader. “Power at its best is love implementing the demand of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love,” said Robinson. Robinson introduced the honorees reading the dedication to each. “Berry Brown is still marching,” said Robinson. “The struggle is not over,” said honoree Pastor Lillian Hodges as she quoted Romans 6:23. “When I was a little girl the streets were not paved. It was a difficult time. We lived in shotgun houses. But God has made it possible to change the circumstances. It wasn’t all our pushing, but we had to push hard.” Doc Hall stood in to receive his mother’s, Maggie Hall, award. “I thank God for those that are paving the dream,” said Hall. “The bells of freedom are still not ringing but we are moving forward.” “It has been a struggle all the way, but it takes time,” said Ed Williams as he laid hold of his plaque and offered reassurance. “Everything is going to be all right.” Sam Blount was remembered for helping get water in Shady Grove. “Your footprints are here,” said Robinson. “Your testimony is here. We are honoring you for what you have done not only here but all over the United States of America.” “Thank you mayor and city council for all the progress you have made,” replied Blount. In addition to the Civil Rights leaders, recognition extended to three business West Memphis business men. Solomon Boston recapped the history of his Boston Plumbing company. Many people wanted to tell stories about times with Ray Gage at Ray’s Worlds Famous BBQ. Dennis Brewer of Brewer’s Martial Arts picked up his award but not until after he laid down a self defense demonstration for the women in the gallery and acknowledged his wedding anniversary.


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