Black History event in Granby promotes understanding, forgiveness
February 19, 2009
With the emergence of social and political change throughout America, especially since November’s presidential election, several community members are hoping to share a celebration of Black History Month.
“The recent election of President (Barack) Obama has ushered in a new hope for our country,” said Larry Norman, director of the Grand County Center 4 Excellence. Many in the United States may not realize the many contributions “that African Americans have already made to the moral fabric of American society and in government.”
In an effort to help change that, he and several guests, including a notable guest speaker, invite residents and guests to join in “Achieving America’s Vision Through Forgiveness and Understanding.” The event, which begins with a video presentation, is meant to be “a day of information, inspiration and reflection,” Norman said.
Produced by the Washington State Historical Museum, the video documents the struggles and contributions of black pioneers during the 1960s who paved the way for the future of men such as Harold Moss, the day’s top speaker. Moss, whom Norman met while living in Washington, was the first black Tacoma city councilman, mayor and the first black Pierce County councilman.
He was among several key individuals who helped prevent further violence during the Mother’s Day Riot of 1969, when an arrest led to disturbances, Norman added. The chaos that followed escalated into an emergency situation in Tacoma and sparked a civil rights movement in the city.
“When you accept and acknowledge that you are part of the family of America,” Moss said in an earlier interview, “you are obligated to make it the best you can for everyone in the family.”
“The fact that his patience and long-suffering” allowed him to become Tacoma’s mayor, Norman said in an early Happenings on Hilltop cover story, “should be a marker to all of us that it is the ‘individual’ and not the ‘circumstances’ that determine where a person will end up in life.”
Saturday’s celebration also includes additional inspirational speeches and noteworthy readings by individuals from the past and present who helped shape the country “through an undying desire for equality.” With the help of a few friends, Norman presents a discussion on “The Significance of African Americans Here in America,” (starting around 3 p.m.). Area students and adults will be participating in various aspects of the day, said to be a “wonderful learning opportunity” for everyone.
The event will also showcase related books and wall displays, and rounds out with a presentation on how the spiritualism of the black people inspired the gospel music of today. A special performance, Norman said, will allow the audience to hear how gospel music offers “hope, healing, and God’s promises for all people.”