Michigan Legislative Black Caucus honors Black History Month

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By Marissa High
Ingham County Chronicle Staff Writer

LANSING — In honor of Black History Month, the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus has set up several educational events in Lansing to celebrate African-American History.

These events include the Charline White/Cora Brown Luncheon tribute to Michigan’s Women of Color on Wednesday, Feb. 22  at the Anderson State Office Building and the Black History Month Annual Evening Celebration on Wed., Feb. 29 at the Michigan Capitol.

The five women of color who were honored at the Charline White/Core Brown luncheon include Alma Wheeler Smith, Mary Waters, Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick,  Teola Hunter, and May Lou Parks.

“Every woman that’s on that list was a former member of the legislature as well as a former black caucus member and they also held some type of leadership position while they were in service for the state of Michigan,” said Sherie L. Davy, executive director of the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus.

The evening celebration will include  performances by the Detroit City Rescue Mission Choir, Sandra Seaton and the Earl Nelson Singers, and the students of the Detroit Academy of Arts and Sciences, Davy said.

The performance that is predicted to draw a big crowd is Grammy award-winning singer Anita Baker.

The guest speaker of the event will be Wisconsin State Sen. Lena Taylor, Davy said.

“(She) has worked in community activist positions for civil rights for all people. She’s quite well known right now for the issues she’s championed for people.  And she’ll be sharing some insight about what’s going on to keep people engaged,” Davy said.

Most guests are expected to be from the Ingham and Eaton County area, she said.

“We don’t turn anybody away, and as a result, we get an interesting cross section of people, which is good. It is not just limited to people of color. We always have a variety of people on the program,“ Davy said.

“It shouldn’t be just celebrated in one month,” said Renonda Mullen, who works in the Ingham County area. “It shouldn’t be the shortest month of the year, either.”

Mullen had not heard about the events being held in Lansing. She was upset that the events were not receiving more coverage, she said.

“The evening celebration truly is a lot of fun because we feed everybody, at no cost to the public. It’s our opportunity to involve everybody or as many people as we can fit into the building,” Davy said.

The Michigan Legislative Black Caucus also has the African American Legislators Past & Present on display in the State Capitol until the end of the month.

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