Weekend events include ‘The HBCU Experience’ at church, New Smyrna festival.

“As a kid, I didn’t know who the mayor of Daytona Beach was, but I knew that Dr. Richard V. Moore was president of Bethune-Cookman College,’’ Charles W. Cherry II said in his speech about the impact of HBCUs.


In Daytona Beach, Daytona Times Publisher Charles W. Cherry II was the guest speaker at New Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church on Feb. 9. The topic was “Celebrating Our Heritage: the HBCU Experience.”

Cherry, a Morehouse College graduate, spoke about the positive financial and educational impact of HBCUs, as well as the critical importance of HBCUs to his family’s success. Five successive generations of Cherry’s family members have attended HBCUs, starting with his great-great Aunt Leila Barlow, who graduated from Spelman College in 1914.

“Interestingly, my daughter Chayla entered Spelman College 104 years after her great-great-great Aunt Leila graduated,” he said. He called Spelman “the educational foundation of my immediate and extended family.”

All about ‘culture’

“What makes HBCUs different? I would say just one word: culture,” he told the congregation. “I think a University of Pennsylvania visiting scholar, Dr. Janelle L. Williams, an HBCU graduate from Cheyney State, said it best when she said Cheney ‘gave me an opportunity to pursue my goals while living out my ancestors’ dreams.’”

He also spoke about the influence of then-Bethune-Cookman College.

“B-CC was in the Black community’s DNA…Like many of you, my HBCU experience was part of the oxygen we breathed as children who grew up here……
As a kid, I didn’t know who the mayor of Daytona Beach was, but I knew that Dr. Richard V. Moore was president of Bethune-Cookman College.”

YSG forum

At the Yvonne Scarlett-Golden Cultural & Educational Center, the Community Healing Project held an open forum to discuss local and national issues.

The event focused on different local cultures. It was attended by area Native Americans who even set up a teepee.

Rell Black, director of the Community Healing Project, called it an opportunity “for different cultures and communities’’ to come together during Black History Month.

Historical site

He said it was important to host it as the Scarlett-Golden Center – named after the city’s first Black mayor – because of his historical value.

The Mary S. Harrell Black Heritage Museum hosted its 29th Black Heritage Festival Feb. 7-9 at Pettis Park in New Smyrna Beach. The annual event celebrates the culture and history of the African American community of New Smyrna Beach. It was inspired by the museum’s late founder, Mary S. Harrell, who died in 2014.

The family-friendly festival included quilting and old-fashioned cane grinding demonstrations as well as educational tours of the museum. It featured living history presentations, gospel music performances, storytelling, as well as life stories told by local seniors.



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