Throughout February, many local schools celebrated the contributions of black people in the past. But Associate Justice Cheri Beasley of the North Carolina Supreme Court, emphasized that history is being made everyday to students at Clinton High School.
The school celebrated Black History Month with a special program with music, dance and special presentations.
“You are actually making history today,” Beasley said in regards to making a connection the present with the future.
In 2008, the North Carolina law official made history when she was elected to state’s Court of Appeals. Beasley became the first black woman to win election to statewide office in North Carolina without being appointed by a governor. She hoped her words inspired students of all backgrounds to take advantage of the opportunities they have today.
“I hope that you work very hard and do your best,” Beasley said. “I hope that you also know that success doesn’t just necessarily comes, it strays. Success comes in doing your very best.
She also believes that everyone has an obligation to make a difference in their community.
During her remarks, Beasley brought up famous people such as abolitionists Frederick Douglas and Harriet Tubman. But she also stressed the importance of Black History Month by bring up individuals who don’t get a lot of credit. Some of them included Claudette Colvin, who was arrested before Rosa Parks for refusing to give up her seat on the bus. In addition, she mentioned whites such as Rev. James Reed who was murdered in Alabama while participating the Selma voting Rights Movement.
Principal Dr. Steven Miller added that community is made up of diverse people with different perspectives and backgrounds.
“It’s incredibly important that we listen to each and every voice and that we work collectively together,” Miller said about honoring history while referring to a part of Beasley’s message.
That message included having a mentor and following a passion to be successful.
“You all have many, many gifts,” Miller said. “It’s incredibly important that you know at an early age, what those gifts are and that you follow through.”
Miller concluded his message by saying that Black History Month is a special time to honor historic forefathers throughout the United States.
“All of the performers that we had today, we drew upon those inspirations,” he said before applauding the organizers, participants an dignitaries in attendance.
Some of the other highlights included performances by the Black History Dance Ensemble, the N’Truders of Sampson Middle School, seventh grader Sanaa Dyches and Hannah Sutton who rapped during the performance. The National Anthem was sung by Elicia Morrissey.
Chaka Shipp, Ebony Club adviser, said Beasley gave a dynamic speech to the students about the expectations of life as well. Senior Alecia Bennerman, a member of the club, was one of many students who joined others for the ceremony.
“It’s good for our peers to know about it because some of them don’t take time to educate themselves on their own,” Bennerman said. “It’s good that we can bring it to the school and show them.”
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.