February 18, 2014 --
“Civil Rights in America”, was the theme of the installation’s 2014 Black History Month observance, at the Town and Country Restaurant, Tuesday.
A capacity crowd attended this year’s annual event, which was a collaborative effort between Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Marine Corps Logistics Command and Blacks in Government, according to BIG’s president, Ira Thompson, inspector general, LOGCOM.
Thompson said the occasion was important to honor, to reflect on, and to remember the sacrifices of those who have gone before us.
“It is so important to remember that we are able to celebrate this and other events like the (Doctor) Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, because of people who fought and who gave his or her life so we may have the freedoms we enjoy today,” Thompson said.
Keynote speaker for the luncheon, Geraldine West Hudley, a retired Dougherty County educator, opened her speech to a sold-out crowd on the subject, “Let your little light shine.” From there, she engaged, encouraged and admonished her audience, to light the path for others.
“We have come from where we were to where we are now,” Hudley reflected. “And, believe it or not, we are moving forward every day.”
She continued, “We desire to be better so we have got to let our little light shine. When our little light shines, there is a beam out there for the world. They get a taste of it being better, because we were born better than (how) we behave sometimes.”
Hudley then shifted her focus.
“Our children are the best of what there is about us,” she said. “We have got to do better by letting our little light shine. We know better. In our souls, we know better, and we’ve got better to do.
“Let your little light shine wherever you happen to be because you can make it better. And, you are duty bound to make it better,” Hudley added.
Admonishing the attendees, she gave the instruction, “Write your story, because it will matter to a young person struggling somewhere. You made it (through your struggles) and you look good to me."
“I want to know what you learned along the way,” she added. “ I want to know what you got out of your struggle, what you brought with you, who you can help.
“Years ago when I was in high school, I had a child tell me she wanted to be just like me,” Hudley recalled. “I still have people telling me that today. My response to them is, ‘I have one requirement. You have to do it better than me. You can’t be like me. You have to do more to ensure that you’ve gotten it right.’"
“We are on a journey and we will ultimately get it right,” Hudley said.
“No one has walked one iota of a minute in your shoes,” she continued, as she charged those in attendance to keep doing whatever they are doing to get it right.”
With that, Hudley, encouraged her audience, “Let your light shine so that you will light the path for others. When I say shine, I mean give the best of you. You have got to let your light shine so that someone’s path will be better lighted.”
Program participants, including Rutha Harris and The Freedom Singers from Albany, Ga., entertained and inspired the audience with songs and poems in observance of Black History Month.
Black History Month began in 1926 as part of an initiative by writer and educator Dr. Carter G. Woodson. He proclaimed Negro History Week as the second week of February between the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.
Every American president since 1976 has signed a proclamation in observance of the month, according to various Internet resources. Today other countries such as Canada and the United Kingdom also devote an entire month to celebrating black history.