‘Our Florida Mosaic’ explores Black history through eyes of youth

Our Florida Mosaic
Stefany Ecklin was the mistress of ceremonies.
Our Florida Mosaic

Sacrifices, legacy and contributions of African Americans played important roles in “Our Florida Mosaic,” a Youth Black History Reality Show – now in its 16th year – was staged on Jan. 27 at the African American Cultural Society (AACS).

The free, public celebration – partially funded by the City of Palm Coast – took in the recent aspects through the Youth Black History Committee – Jeanette Wheeler, Chair; Richard Barnes, Patricia Bottoms, Redonia Johnson, Melba McCarty, Harriett Whiting, and Annette Williams.

Young Stefany Ecklin, mistress of ceremonies, assembled the roles for the audience amid cheers from the young audience members.

Also attending were Bunnell Mayor Catherine Robinson, Bunnell City Manager Alvin Jackson, and Dr. Dora Hymon Giddens, daughter-in-law of the Rev. Frank Giddens, a community activist, who was instrumental in integrating the county’s workforce through the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) of 1973.

Florida’s slave past

Much of the mosaic was memorized in narratives, tellingly superb stories of African Americans in Florida and the cultural aspects of places in the state, portrayed by young people.

Flagler Palm Coast High School (FPCHS) TV crew recognized the Fort Mose slave sanctuary in a video, the Henrietta Marie slave ship carrying African captives for sale as slaves in the West Indies, and the vessel shipwrecked off the Florida coast.

It was anything but ordinary when Anna Kingsley, a West African captive, carried on the responsibilities of her husband, Zephaniah’s plantation in Jacksonville – only to become a slave owner herself.

‘Right to Life’ show

Part of the pattern, presented as a “Right to Life” talk show, narrated by Sofia Curtain and set into motion by Mt. Calvary Baptist Church youth, were sacrifices made by civil rights leaders Harry and Harriett Moore, who, in 1938, registered over 1,000 Black voters. And, in 2012, another senseless killing of teen Jordan Davis by a White man, claiming to be threatened by a gun, was sentenced to life without parole.

Another time in 2012, George Zimmer man, a White man, claiming to be standing his ground, walked away free after snuffing out the life of teen Trayvon Martin. The response from the audience was: “We have a right to live.”

“Young people, I want you to see a legend, and here is one,” said Wheeler.

Local legend honored

The Rev. Daisy Mae Henry was bestowed a certificate for her tireless work in the Flagler County community after attending the segregated George Washington Carver High School, and pushing on to again run for Bunnell city commissioner. She became the longest-running female to serve.

The Spirit of Life Church pastor works with young people and has just launched a home for senior citizens.

The legacy rose in the African American’s expressive brilliance of dance, titled “Strange Fruit,” choreographed by Valerie Betts, protesting lynchings in song, narrated by Erica Cousins, and internationally memoralized by singers Billie Holiday and Nina Simone.

The contributions by Chi Delta Omega’s #CAPS Network refrained the insight of an African-American History course, under AACS President Stephanie Ecklin, and led in 2014 by Robert Whiting and the Education Committee – with the Florida Department of Education offering only a half credit in both Flagler high schools – took a giant leap to then offer a full semester credit.

Other contributors

The show contained an enormous mosaic of people and places – Congresswoman Val Demings and others – and places like the Rosewood township, populated by predominately Blacks.

Edwina Mezo Brown noted that “in 1923 during the Rosewood Massacre that was started by a White lady’s claim that a Black man had raped her, the whole, entire town was torn up…”

There were other attacks and other achievements, represented by: Stefany Ecklin, Diaje Betts, the FPCHS TV crew, Carmen Holcy, Oslyn Bryant, Joy Prime, Sofia Curtain, Mount Calvary Baptist Church youth, Guy Burkley, Aminah Taite-Headspeth, Edwina Mezo Brown, Najee Monroe, Jill Prime, Alex Harvey, Jada Simpson, Erica Cousins, Maya Felton, Nia Felton, Samira Taite-Headspeth, Shaunte’ White, Bryanna Ivey, the Boys and Girls Club of Flagler & Volusia, Chi Delta Omega’s #CAPS Network, and Makayla Jenkins.

Black Heritage Day Festival is Feb. 16

The annual Black Heritage Day Festival will step back into the spotlight with a color guard, speakers and dignitaries, youth, choirs, dancers, a martial arts demo, and more.

The event, sponsored by the Afro-American Caribbean Heritage Organization, will also explore the music of an exciting deejay.

Bring family and friends to the African American Cultural Society, 4422 U.S. 1 North in Palm Coast.

That’s Feb. 16, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The entertainment is free and will provide community-service information, vendors with ethnic apparel, jewelry, arts and crafts, homemade food – particularly for West-Indian foodie lovers.

Look no longer for a business venture: Fees for the vendors are $30, and for food vendors, the price is $40.

Ads for a commemorative journal are priced at $35 for a quarter page; $60 for a half page, $100 for a full page, and $15 for a booster ad.

For further information, call Wes at 386445-8345 or Vivian at 386-446-6935.

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As always, remember our prayers for the sick, afflicted, the prodigal son, or daughter, and the bereaved.

Celebrations

Birthday wishes to Margaret Young, Feb. 7; Glenda Anderson, Feb. 8; Randolph

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