NAACP, community leaders celebrate Black History
A fourth grader stole the show at last week’s Black History celebration in Goose Creek.
Fourth-grader T’auna Prioleau gave a dramatic monologue for which she received a standing ovation. She spoke as Coretta Scott King (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s wife) in an emphatic speech she memorized.
The nine-year-old Joseph Pye Elementary School student used her booming, powerful voice and enunciated each word as clearly as the vision of the character she was portraying.
“I can’t be what I ought to be until you are allowed to be what you ought to be,” T’auna said. “I believe all forms of discrimination are equally wrong.”
T’auna’s performance was only one of many show-stopping moments witnessed last week during the Goose Creek NAACP’s Black History Month Celebration held at the Berkeley Electric Co-op building off Springhill Drive in Goose Creek.
The 2013 Black History Month theme was “At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality: The Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington.” The program touched on both topics.
Goose Creek Mayor Michael Heitzler spoke of Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which went into effect 150 years ago. Heitzler said Lincoln waited two years into his presidency before the proclamation was made.
Heitzler added that Lincoln’s move was similar to a British end to slavery and kept Britain, France and Spain from becoming allies with the Confederate States of America during the Civil War. Those countries were on the verge of supporting the South in the war, while Russia nearly became an ally to the Union, according to Heitzler.
This is when Lincoln turned from a politician into a moralist, Heitzler said.
A century later, on Aug. 28, 1963, America stood at the crossroads of segregation and discrimination when King led his peaceful march on Washington to the Lincoln Memorial and delivered his powerful “I Have a Dream” speech.
Goose Creek High School student Silas Adams read that speech to the audience at Monday’s celebration and linked it to President Barack Obama.
Adams said Obama’s inauguration cashed the check and made King’s dream a reality. “Dr. King’s dream, Obama’s dream, my dream, your dream, the American Dream is just a blink away,” he said.
Fort Sumter National Park Service employee Michael Allen spoke of the importance of Gullah and Geechee heritage.
Goose Creek Concerned Citizens Elder Kenny Johnson told his story of working with city officials to rename the Goose Creek Recreation Center the Casey Center, after a slave who escaped. There is also a historical marker by the Goose Creek Library off Old Moncks Corner Road.
GCHS student Uzuri Boatwright gave a brief history of Rosa Parks and read from some of her writings on the success of the bus boycott.
Goose Creek City Councilmember John McCants was honored and presented with a city proclamation on Black History Month.
“I was stationed at Fort Benning, Ga. with a weapon as security as people marched from Selma to Montgomery,” McCants said of the 1965 march that ended less than 100 miles away from Fort Benning.
U.S. Post Office employees presented framed posters of two special stamps: one honoring the Emancipation Proclamation and the other honoring Rosa Parks. The posters will hang at the Berkeley County School District and Goose Creek City Hall, respectively. Several actual first-class “forever stamps” were sold after the program.
BCSD Associate Superintendent of Human Resources Glenda Levine was the mistress of ceremonies for the evening.
Several other local dignitaries spoke and were among the more than 50 people in attendance.