The 8th Annual Elmont Online - Highlighting Success Black History Month program held on February 6th at the Elmont Public Library followed it's now customary format with a Round Table discussion and Award Ceremony.  Both events were very successful.  Mr. Scott Cushing who led a lively discussion about economic development moderated this years’ Round Table.  Attendees raved about the presentation "Elmont Online must continue this effort.  Once a year is just not enough, …" said one attendee.  "I was so pumped up, I wanted to jump in" said another.

Following the Round Table Discussion, the attendees moved to the Library Theater.  Ms Allyson Phillips, chairperson of the Black History Month Committee offered opening remarks.  The Ceremony honored seven young Elmont residents with the Jack Martins Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Excelsior Awards and Dr. Marsha Darling received the central award of the day, The Elmont Online - Highlighting Success Dr. Carter G. Woodson Award.  At the conclusion of the Award Ceremony, "elegant, stunning and gutsy" were the words used to describe the program by some attendees.

Allyson PhillipsGood afternoon Senator Martins, distinguished guests, honorees, and friends.  It is my distinct honor to welcome you to the 8th annual Elmont Online/Highlighting Success Black History Month celebration.  To the members of the Elmont Fire Department, I extend a special thank you for leading us with the Pledge of Allegiance.

The observance of Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by black Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of African Americans in U.S. history. The event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Dr. Carter G. Woodson.

There is an African proverb which says “Until lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunter”.

One of the reasons we meet each year for this celebration is to bear witness to the lives of the individuals we honor past and present.  They may be sitting to your left or to your right, in front of or behind you – we know these individuals and it is our mission, in part, to ensure that their contributions are not lost in the public discourse.

And so, we are grateful for the efforts of all who made today’s celebration possible.  To the Black History Month committee members, past and present, advisors, our volunteers, the library administration and staff, sponsors and other supporters- you are appreciated.

Black history in the United States began with the capture, enslavement and trans-Atlantic transport of slaves to North America.  It is a history fraught with adversity, anguish, dreams deferred, achievement, courage, and triumphs.

Children, I come back today
To tell you a story of the long dark way
That I had to climb, that I had to know
In order that the race might live and grow.
Look at my face — dark as the night — 
Yet shining like the sun with love's true light.
I am the dark girl who crossed the red sea
Carrying in my body the seed of the free.
I am the woman who worked in the field
Bringing the cotton and the corn to yield.
I am the one who labored as a slave,
Beaten and mistreated for the work that I gave — 
Children sold away from me, husband sold, too.
No safety, no love, no respect was I due.

Three hundred years in the deepest South:
But God put a song and a prayer in my mouth.
God put a dream like steel in my soul.
Now, through my children, I'm reaching the goal.

Langston Hughes excerpt from “The Negro Mother”

Full coverage of the event including the full audio recording of the round table discussion will follow as part of Elmont Online's Black History Month coverage.


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