By Othor Cain
Wednesday, Feb. 28 brought a close to a month-long observance of Black History at the Hanging Moss Church of Christ. The celebration
concluded with a youth focused and led program that celebrated Black Excellence.
Through dance, music and other forms of artistic expressions, the youth of Hanging Moss recognizedand celebrated Mississippi. “We
wanted to do something different this year…we wanted to celebrate Mississippi,” said several members of the high school Wednesday Night
Bible Class at Hanging Moss. “We thought about living history this year.”
Living history was on full display. The honorees are known for breaking ground in a number of professions. Among those honored were Dr. Robert Smith for his work in medicine and starting the country’s first community health clinic; Harvey Johnson who became Jackson’s First African-American mayor in 1997; and Judge Tomie Green the first female judge to sit on the Hinds County Circuit bench.
Also honored was Robert Clark,the first African-American legislator since reconstruction; and in the media, William Dilday, the firstAfrican-American general manager of a television station in the U.S. who worked at WLBT; and Elayne Hayes
Anthony, the fi rst African-American female news anchor in Jackson.
The evening also included a magical performance by the award winning Murrah High School choir. “This was really a showcase of excellence,” said Shelia Johnson a parent booster club member at Murrah. “I’m from Mississippi and didn’t know some of the things I learned here.”
Murrah’s choir will spend spring back in Italy. The choir received an invitation to perform in Italy after it received all superior ratings at the
2017 Festival of Gold in Los Angeles. “At the close of the festival we received an invitation to travel internationally,” said Pierrdro Gallion,
director of choral activities at Murrah.
The choir will participate in a WorldStrides OnStage Festival Concert Tour, scheduled March 8-17, which includesvisits to Milan, Florence, Rome and Venice. “The group will perform music from classical to gospel in a variety of settings from a cathedral to a community college,”
Who would have thought to include comedy in a black history celebration? The youth of Hanging Moss did. “Our youth excel in every area and it is our job to ensure that they continue that trend,” said one of the youth leaders at the church. “They wanted something different and they delivered.”
Comedian Rita B used her 10 minuteperformance to acknowledge the blackchurch experience. “I’m looking for a new church…I’m exploring a ‘white’ church, cause black folk have church too long,” she said to laughs. “If this program is any indication as to the length of your service…
guess what, your service is too long.”
The drummers and dancers from Adhiambo School in Jackson delivered a riveting dance and musical piece and inserted nuggets of the history of drums and other cultural connections.
Black Excellence told through the arts, it was all there.