By Janice K. Neal-Vincent
Youth at New Hope Baptist Church contributed to the church’s Sixth Annual Back in the Day Celebration of Black History, February 16. The theme, “Youth Heritage Night: Committed to Moving Forward,” proved timely for the occasion. Historical accounts of African-American culture were addressed extensively. Interim Superintendent of Jackson Public School System, Freddrick Murray, said during his greetings that it was incumbent upon the youth to expand their knowledge of traditional names to “learn of all who’ve made significant contributions to African-American culture.”
Jackson, Miss. native, Carl B. Mack who now resides in Fort Washington, Md., was the guest speaker. He marveled at Murray’s comment and said, “We must expose our children to our brilliance.” Afterwards, he loaded the packed audience with historical knowledge. Swiftly moving from the podium to establish identification, Mack delivered a feisty power point presentation as he walked with ease among the crowd.
Calling forth children and asking a series of questions pertaining to African-American history, the speaker reminded them that knowledge is power. He explained that adults were responsible for the youth’s lack of knowledge and praised the youth for answering a few questions correctly. While sharing factual material, he argued, “Jefferson Davis and five others put a value proposition on us in the injection of subjugation. They said we must commit to degradation to the loss of property worth $4 billion or we would have to leave the union.”
Mack, a member of the Board of Directors of Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE Foundation), presented his argument for reparations. “Jefferson Davis and his boys said we [African Americans] were worth $4,000,000,000,000. From his calculation, the engineer concluded, “America owes $35,462,959,219,049.53. I want the 53 cents.”
Trailing a series of recordings, the dynamic orator elaborated on the death of Crispus Attucks, Jefferson Davis’ advocacy of the institution of slavery; Frederick Douglass’ retaliation against slavery; Dr. Carter G. Woodson’s contribution of Black History Week, contributions of Malcolm X, the removal of the Confederate flag by South Carolina’s 116th Governor, Nikki Haley and the determination of Mississippi’s 64th Governor Phil Bryant, to fly the Confederate flag. Backing up his claims, Mack warned his listeners to pay attention to subliminal messages that distort African-American history.
New Hope’s pastor, the Rev. Dr. Jerry Young, commented: “Thank God for this brother. Those who are not aware of their history will always be children. You can’t grow up without your history.” The minister concluded that the race must be inspired to go out and do great things. Youth from The Mississippi School for the Deaf did an expressive performance of the original song adapted into a poem “Hey Black Child,” by Useni Eugene Perkins.
New Hope’s teen choir wooed the audience with the song, “King Jesus is A Listening When You Pray,” by an anonymous author. The Callaway Singers, directed by Tamara Myles, soulfully sang “O Domine Jesu Christe,” by G. P. Palestrina; “We Shall Walk Through the Valley in Peace,” by Moses Hogan; “Ain’t No Windin in the Road,” by Greg Gilpin; and “The Lord Bless You and Keep You,” by Peter C. Lutkin.
Following the event, Flonzie Brown-Wright, program coordinator, injected: “I was absolutely captivated by Dr. Mack’s knowledge of different periods of history…He clearly demonstrated how blacks are minimized in different facets of history. I was also impressed with his magnificent and electrifying delivery as well as his interaction with the youth. His reputation preceded him as a phenomenal speaker, but to actually hear him speak superseded his reputation.
New Hope Baptist Church’s Back in the Day Celebration will conclude Thursday, February 23. The church is located at 5202 Watkins Drive in Jackson.
Featured artists will be national and international gospel legends, song writers and producers: the award winning Cynthia G. Palmer and Paul Porter.
For inquiries, contact Flonzie Brown-Wright, coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 937-470-0627.