College Hill celebrates BHM

February 28, 2019 in News

By Jackie Hampton,


Asha Wilkerson                                              Photo by Jay johnson

Asha Wilkerson Photo by Jay johnson

Like so many African- American churches, members of College Hill Baptist church consider every month Black History month; however, on February 21 C.J. Rhodes, pastor of Mt. Helm Baptist Church, helped the College Hill family celebrate BHM, with a presentation regarding a historical relationship between the black church and black colleges and universities.

Then, on Saturday night at its’ annual Heritage Banquet, College Hill announced the winner of the Samuel L. Bailey Scholarship award and the recipient of its’ annual Black Achiever award.

Justin Coleman gave a history of the scholarship prior to Denise Griffin–Whittington presenting the awards. KeShaun Blackmon was the winner of a $2000 cash scholarship. It was named in honor of the late Sam Bailey, who is known for his work in Mississippi for voter’s rights and race equality. Clay Morris and John Coleman Hall each received $600 book stipends. The guest speaker at this event was Asha Wilkerson, granddaughter of Sam Bailey.

Rev. C.J. Rhodes

Rev. C.J. Rhodes

Wilkerson passionately spoke about her grandfather as a civil rights worker during some of the most tumultuous times in Mississippi history. Wilkerson was pleased to receive a portrait of her grandfather presented by Druthie Bailey. It was a drawing by artist Gail Ghettis of College Hill.

The Black Achiever award was presented by Frank Yates.  Mary Octavia Fisher, received the Black Achiever award. Fisher is known for her work at College Hill serving in several ministries to include Girl Scouting, public relations and pastoral support. She is also a Sunday School teacher. Fisher volunteers her time and resources helping youth in the community by seeing that they attend church on a regular basis and makes certain they have books and clothes. for school and church. Margarette Meeks presided over the Saturday night event.

The presentation by Rhodes took place Wednesday night in the Family Life Center. This event was sponsored by the Christian Education Ministry. It didn’t take long for Rhodes to dive into his presentation after an icebreaker from church member Lenora Reed challenging the attendees to name at least 25 historically black churches in 3 minutes. Church member Lenita Knight named 26.

Rhodes was introduced by Michael T. Williams, pastor of College Hill. Even though he stated there are more than 100 historically Black Colleges and Universities throughout the nation, Rhodes said there are six in Mississippi. His presentation focused mainly on the four colleges started before reconstruction with religious backgrounds.

Rust, which was started in 1866 was affiliated with the United Methodist Church; Tougaloo, founded in 1869 was affiliated with the United Church of Christ and Disciples of Christ; Alcorn was established in 1871 on the grounds of a former white Presbytarian church and Jackson State University, founded in 1877 by a genesis of a black seminary. The other two HBCU’s in Mississippi include Hinds Community College and Mississippi Valley State University, founded after reconstruction.

College Hill, currently under construction of a new sanctuary, is located at 1600 Florence Avenue in Jackson, MS.

See pictures on page 19.