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Local Community Leaders Honored During Black History Month Event

March 7, 2019

On February 21, CNR hosted the Inaugural Reception and Awards ceremony in honor Black History Month. The event was sponsored by the Alumnae/i Association and the Student Government Association.

The event was held to honor local community leaders as well as CNR’s Black Student Union and the Gospel Choir. Area award recipients included: Rodney J. Reynolds founder of American Legacy Magazine and American Legacy Network; CNR Alumna Rosa Kittrell Barksdale (SNR ’75), former trustee, entrepreneur, community activist, and author; Dr. Obery Hendricks, professor, social activist, and author; and Lynn Spivy, president, NAACP NYCHA.

The evening’s keynote speaker was Professor James Small, who took attendees on a virtual tour through time, explaining how some of our civilization’s most iconic structures and ideas are rooted in ancient societies from Northern Africa. He also reminded attendees about how many modern inventions and technological contributions—including video game consoles, remote controls, Lasik eye surgery, mathematical formulas for NASA, 3D graphic technology, and many more—all came from African Americans.

“Look at all these people who were enslaved, on those slave ships, in them cotton fields, beaten down, lynched, and hung… look at all they went through… then did all this for their country,” said Small, whose presentation ended with an image of former President Barack Obama. “From where we started in Egypt, through all that we went through, we arrived at the highest office in the land and did it with more grace and dignity and class than anybody.”

The evening wrapped up with a performance from spoken word poet, Alyssa Martinez, who dazzled the audience with a piece called, “Black Privilege,” and the awards presentation for the evening’s honorees. Honorees were also presented with Special Acknowledgement citations from Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.).

See photos from the evening in our Flickr album: