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Pondering The Future Of Black History

Pondering The Future Of Black History image
Parent Issue
Day
16
Month
February
Year
1991
Copyright
Copyright Protected
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Donated by the Ann Arbor News. ┬ę The Ann Arbor News.
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´╗┐PONDERING THE FUTURE OF BLACK HISTORY

As Black History is celebrated this month, six prominent area professionals were asked to pause and reflect on the influences in their lives, and share how they perceive Black History being made today.

ETHEL HOWARD

Yspilanti Township Clker

BLACK HISTORY TODAY

"When I was elected, I was the first black to hold a full time elected position (with Ypsilanti Township). Blacks are making history in all fields. Although Martin Luther King is dead there are still people advocating the same kind of things he did."

INFLUENCES

"My mom, Bobie Lee Scott taught me when doing a job or setting goals to give it all you have." Howard mentions educators Mary McLeod Bethune, Sojourner Truth and Barbara Jordan as other role models.

FUTURE OF BLACKS

"Economically blacks will make progress in the '90's in business and education. We'll have to work hard to make it equal."

L.J. McKEOWN

Ypsilanti Chief of Police

BLACK HISTORY TODAY

"There is progress being made in government, the first black elected governor in the U.S. (L. Douglas Wilder of Virginia), many major cities have black mayors, and there are now blacks in high powered corporate positions."

Along with these achievements McKeown says there are some very serious matters that have to be addressed including drug related activities and materialism which has caused some young people to lose their lives.

INFLUENCES

"As a young person my family and family friends most influenced me. As a young adult it was Martin Luther King, Jr. I believe he approached the achievement of equality in the right way, applying pressure in the right places and motivating blacks to press forward."

FUTURE OF BLACKS

"I think blacks in the area have great opportunities and possibilities for those who want to get ahead."

DON JONES

Principal, Ann Arbor Pioneer High School

BLACK HISTORY TODAY

"In many areas there are brand new trails being blazed, General Colin Powell is an example. Today's young people have more to look at as far as role models, and that wasn't the case a generation ago, one had to do a little dreaming."

INFLUENCES

"My background is in music, so I was very influenced by musicians, particularly Dean Dixon, a well known black conductor in the 1940's, who unfortunately, had to go to Europe to practice his craft. My parents influenced me, of course, and one of my teachers at Tennessee State University, Edward Louis Smith." Jones believes that institutions such as schools and churches had more of an impact on his generation than they do with young people today.

FUTURE OF BLACKS

"There are tremendous education opportunities for young blacks if they'll take advantage of them. The educational climate with EMU, WCC and U-M are unlimited if a person works hard and perseveres."

FRED McCUISTON

President NAACP Ann Arbor Branch

BLACK HISTORY TODAY

"We've climbed up some. Doug Williams (formerly of the Washington Red Skins) being the first black quarterback to win a Super Bowl, the first black coach of an NFL team. Art Shell, and there are quite a few African Americans that are presidents of major colleges and heads of big businesses.

It might seem minuscule to whites, but it's a big thing for African Americans."

INFLUENCES

"My father, Fred McCuiston, Sr. was a good provider, he stressed education and he wanted each generation to be a little bit better. Martin Luther King, Jr and Malcolm X were also role models because they thought more of their people than they did of themselves."

FUTURE OF BLACKS

"There are may major discrimination practices in the Ann Arbor Fire Department and there are problems in the Ann Arbor School system. Black achievement is low. I believe the current superintendent is trying to remedy that situation...there is lack of equal expectation on the part of the teachers, they don't expect black students to achieve like white students."

RONALD WOODS

Department head EMU African American Studies

BLACK HISTORY TODAY

"Surely history is being made today in terms of the debate within the African American community on the crisis of the black male and educational disadvantages.

The great man and great woman version of history is being made as well look at Colin Powell, the Honorable Maxine Waters and Judge Nancy Francis.

History is being made locally as we look at the indigenous grass roots effort of African American churches and the lay citizenry efforts to address the problems of economic deprivation, drug addiction, black on black crime and the self help aspect."

INFLUENCES

"My heroes are my parents, Rebecca Allen Woods and Sylvester Woods, Sr. For me, with their compassion, fortitude, hard work, wisdom and faith they are living embodiments of African American history.

Traveling back to the (African) continent I'd have to include Nelson Mandela. His grace and mental fortitude is and example to all humanity."

FUTURE OF BLACKS

"I am very optimistic about the future of African Americans because there is a great amount of resiliency in this community, a great amount of resourcefulness, creativity and strong spiritual base. Blended together it bodes well for the future. African American youth of this community are increasingly understanding the challenge before them and are stepping forth to meet it."

NANCY FRANCIS

Juvenile Court Judge, Washtenaw County

BLACK HISTORY TODAY

"In looking at black history today they'd talk about Jesse Jackson running for president, they'd talk about Colin Powell (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff), the Oakland Raiders have the first black coach in the NFL (Art Shell).

Also you would have to take note of the recession, the serious economic flaws, which of course are hitting blacks the hardest, declines of cities and the issues of this war (Persian Gulf), the great representation of minority combat personnel and the strong anti-war feeling among blacks in the U.S."

INFLUENCES

"My parents, Albert and Emma Wheeler, were very influential in my life, along with my two older sisters Mary and Alma.

My parents were active in the civil rights movement and stressed the importance of education and being self efficient. They made us feel there wasn't anything we couldn't do because we're women or Afro-Americans."

FUTURE OF BLACKS

"I'm worried about the great disparity in wealth between certain segments of the community...

I'm disturbed by the (school) drop out rate of black youngsters and the further divorcement between healthy role models and young people that need them.

Although racial polarization exists I do see more young interracial friendships and that gives me a great deal of hope. That's the only way racial injustice will end if we get to know each other."

BLACK HISTORY MONTH