CHMS celebrates Black History Month

Published 8:54 pm Monday, February 23, 2009

Carl Hollis, Charles Henderson High School boys’ basketball coach, warned the students at Charles Henderson Middle School of the “danger of forgetting.”

Hollis was the keynote speaker at the Black History Month program at the middle school Monday and his message to the students was clear and to the point.

“NFL coaches Tony Dungy (Colts) and Lovie Smith (Bears) met in Super Bowl XLI because of the struggles and sacrifices others had endured,” Hollis said. “They met because things had changed — because others had suffered afflictions, pain and even death to pave the way for change.”

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Hollis cautioned the students that there are no magic moments, that things don’t “just happen.”

“We must not forget,” he said. “There is danger in forgetting. History is important. The past prepares you for the future. The past shapes your future. And, we must not forget where we came from. Don’t forget the sacrifices that others have made. If it had not been for the many sacrifices of those before us, we would not be where we are today.”

Prior to Hollis’ address to the students, a group of middle school students presented a play about Harriet Tubman, a runaway slave from Maryland, who, over the course of 10 years and, at great personal risk, led hundreds of slaves to freedom along the Underground Railroad. The Underground Railroad was a secret network of safe houses where runaway slaves could stay on their journey north to freedom.

“Harriet Tubman didn’t do it by herself,” Hollis told the students. “White people along the way hid the runaway slaves on their way to freedom. Had it not been for the sacrifices of all people we would not be where we are today. God has made a way out of no way.”

Hollis challenged the students to work hard because hard work pays off.

“Success is not determined by possessions,” he said.

“It’s what’s in your heart. We are born with nothing and we’ll leave this world with nothing. I’m yet to see a hearse pulling a U-Haul filled with worldly possessions. We all come with nothing and we leave with nothing. God never used rich and proud people. A good attitude and hard work will take you where you want to go.”

The Troy University Collegiate Singers, under the direction of Dr. Diane Orlofsky, presented the musical portion of the Black History program. The Collegiate Singers sang arrangements of three African-American spirituals, “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” “Ain’t-a-that Good News” and “Angel Watchin’ Over Me.”

Soloists were Adrian Smith, Morgan Rhodes and Bryant Stokes.

The Collegiate Singers were conducted by Laura Aaron, a graduate choral assistant who also directs the CHMS choral ensemble. The middle school ensemble joined the Collegiate Singers on “Angels Watchin’ Over Me.”