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Albany mayor speaks at Black History ceremony

By Pamela Jackson | | February 23, 2012

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This year’s national Black History theme, “Black Women in American Culture and History,” was a fitting tribute to Albany’s first female mayor, Dorothy Hubbard, who made history, Nov. 6, 2011.

Hubbard served as the guest speaker for the Albany Area Chapter of Blacks in Government and Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany Black History program, held Feb. 16 at the Base Chapel.

Following the usual courtesies of the national anthem and prayer, the MCLB Albany Gospel Choir began the program with a soul-stirring rendition of gospel musician Kirk Franklin’s, “I Smile.”

Hubbard referred to the women who inspired her to give back as “little angels” and said she believes it was God’s will that she was selected as the first female mayor in Albany, Ga., and that black history truly is American History.

“I truly believe I was chosen to bring this community together and to move us forward,” she said. “I thank God for the contributions we have been able to make, but I encourage all of you here today to leave a legacy for our children to study and use as a blueprint for their lives.

“Let’s teach our children respect, honesty, our boys to be men and our young ladies to be women and there are certain things we should not do. Let’s forget about the past and focus on the future.”

Hubbard noted there is still work to be done and felt like she was preaching to the choir.

“Many of you in attendance, and who are part of BIG, were already making your mark in public service and are paying your dues through the work you do, but I challenge each of you to do more,” she said. “The more you owe, the more you pay, so let’s get up, get out and get it done.”

Master Sgt. Rolanda Bailey, master of ceremonies, presided over the ceremony and after naming a list of African-American women to be among the firsts to make history, she encouraged a group of youth in attendance to pay attention.

“We still have a lot of firsts to accomplish and the next round starts with each of you,” Bailey said. “It’s important that you understand there is some good history and some bad, and if we are not careful, we are doomed to repeat it. We must learn from today’s history lesson and there is no need to repeat it because there are trailblazing women who paved the way for many of us.”

Retired Marine Master Gunnery Sgt. Bessie Reggans Bolden was in attendance and recognized for being one of those trailblazers for women in the Marine Corps. She was the first African-American female to achieve the rank of master gunnery sergeant in the Motor Transport Maintenance field.

“One thing I will take from her speech today is without a doubt, when you think you’ve paid up, you still owe because there are individuals you are impacting whether you know it or now,” Bolden said. “Her speech was a message to all of us because after 30 years as a Marine, I’m still not done.”

Dr. Jeffrey Wilson, president, BIG, said the program was awesome and it was an honor to have the first female mayor of Albany as the guest speaker.

“She really charged us up and challenged us to get involved in our community,” he said. “We could not have had a better speaker for today’s program.”

Hubbard reminded the audience that as long as they live, they each owe a debt to society and the work is never done, so get involved in the community and with the children and be the example for them to follow.

“It takes men to teach boys and women to teach girls, so I encourage all of you to use your God-given talents to give back and share what you know with the young people,” she said. “God didn’t equip you and give you the talents you have to keep it, but to share it. To whom much is given, much is required and the more you have to pay, the more you owe.”


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