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Step one, get out and vote

Jubilant in 2020.

That’s the adjective to describe the atmosphere on Saturday, Feb. 15 at the St. Michael Baptist Church in Drakes Branch celebrating African American history.

It felt like Sunday morning worship in the packed congregation. The glorious sounds of the SMG Combined Gospel Ensemble made one’s heart soar with the power of the Holy Spirit.

Inspirational words from community leaders from the Charlotte County Board of Supervisors and school board demonstrated the support that the Central High Museum has in its mission of history preservation and community involvement.

Furthermore, the theme for the day “African Americans and the vote” was brought home in the powerful and encouraging words of the museum’s president Dr. Hezteine Foster.

She reminded us that in 2020 we have several anniversaries with the 15th and 19th amendments granting black men and women the right to vote. We also have the Voting Rights Act that needs to be protected in order to ensure our voices are heard at the ballot box.

We as a people and a nation must stay vigilant to ensure those liberties are kept. As in recent years there have been subtle and not so subtle methods to keep blacks from voting.

Talk about a history lesson-Ms. Beckie Harrell of the Southside Virginia Chapter of the Buffalo Soldiers informed the audience of the organization’s mission and history, which was so fascinating and included the fact that Cathay Williams was the first African American woman to enlist in the U. S. Army. She disguised herself as William Cathay. For two and a half years no one knew of her true identity until a jury occurred. Wow, girl power.

The Rev. Willie Tisdale of the Union Meherrin RZUA Church in South Hill embodied the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in his portrayal of the “I Have A Dream Speech”. You felt like you were there back in time during the Civil Rights struggle.

Moreover, the Rosa Parks’ bus ride on the Montgomery bus line was brought to life by performances that were right on point with the emotion and strength of a woman who would not be moved and refused to give up. In Mrs. Parks’ words, “I will not get up, I have paid my fare. You need to arrest me, then do so because I am not moving.”

We should all stand firm in our convictions and not be moved.

In conclusion, we should continue to fight to preserve our history. Teach our young people about the sacrifice and the struggle. African American history is all of ours. Preserving not only the reflections of the past but fighting for the present and the future.

Step one-get out and vote.

Judy Moore is a tour guide at the Central High Museum, lives in Wylliesburg and can be reached at ju.mo39@live.com.