02/20/2013 -- Guest speaker Shirley Sherrod encouraged roughly 160 base and local community residents to work together to help Albany grow during Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany’s observance of Black History Month in the Grand Ballroom of the Town and Country Restaurant, Feb. 12.
The event, themed “At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality: The Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington,” was held to commemorate the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s signing of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington.
Sherrod, who works with Southwest Georgia Project for Community Education Inc., grew up picking cotton and working on a farm in Baker County and now helps assist farmers and other rural residents. A few of her projects include building a food hub that will include a vegetable processing center for small farmers and a school project that connects farmers and school systems in effort to supply locally-grown vegetables to local schools, according to her biography.
“I (have) given a life of service to this area,” she said. “We can make that beloved community Doctor King talked about. Albany and Southwest Georgia will not get better unless we decide to make it better and work to make that happen.
“I think it’s very important for us to start saying let’s make it different, let’s work to make it different and not let all of the negative attitudes and comments be the only ones we hear,” Sherrod added. “Let’s get working. We have so much to do here in Albany and Southwest Georgia. We’re losing population. We allow our young people to be educated and leave to try to make it better somewhere else. Why can’t we create that environment so that can happen here?”
Sherrod and Col. Don Davis, commanding officer, MCLB Albany, both recommended the installation and local community members continue King’s and other Black History Month visionaries’ work.
“This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, the 100th birthday of Rosa Parks who in 1955 took a stand by keeping her seat on that bus in Montgomery, Alabama, and the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for jobs and freedom, which also means we’re observing the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior’s ‘I have a Dream’ speech,” Davis said.
“Doctor King stated, ‘I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character,’” he added. “We still have a long way to get where Doctor King dreamed of.”
Master Gunnery Sgt. Carlotta Moore, adjutant chief, Marine Corps Logistics Command, attended the Black History Month luncheon to honor the great people before us (and) said “Black History is amazing. I thank God people are aggressive, people are positive and people know if they step outside of their roles they could be positive role models.”
Other highlights were Tiana Gordon, Miss Dougherty High School, Albany, Ga., who gave her own rendition of her future as a young black woman as well as Ron Simmons and Patricia Rivers-King, who sang several songs.
Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany and the Albany Area Chapter of Blacks In Government hosted the annual event.