Black history events will include tribute to local lynching victims.
BY ANDREAS BUTLER
Many of the local Black History Month events are being held virtually because of the pandemic.
Here’s a look at some of them taking place this month in Volusia County. They include a program honoring local lynching victims, a unity church service, a photography exhibit, and historical banners.
Honoring lynching victims
The Volusia Remembers Coalition will hold a soil collection ceremony honoring Lee Snell on Saturday, Feb. 27 at the Volusia County Teachers Union, 1381 Educators Road. The event will be available to the public on Zoom.
Snell was a Daytona Beach native and cab driver who was lynched on a stretch of road between Daytona and DeLand on May 27, 1939.
The Army and World I War veteran was honored at his gravesite at Mt. Ararat Cemetery in May 2020.
“Last year we honored him as a veteran. This year we are actually doing the soil collection. We are humanizing Mr. Snell,” said Daisy Grimes, ceremonies chair of the Volusia Remembers Coalition.
The Volusia Remembers Coalition works in collaboration with the Equal Justice Initiative, a nationwide campaign that takes soil from sites of lynchings and displays them in local museums and other places.
“We decided to do this during Black History Month. We have put things off with the pandemic. We must make sure these people aren’t forgotten,” Grimes noted.
“Today we are still getting lynched. Also, many are being shot in the back. We still don’t have an anti-lynching law in this country today.”
Soil sample display
Snell’s soil sample will be displayed and rotated at Bethune-Cookman University, African American Museum of Arts, Mary S. Harrell Black Heritage Museum in New Smyrna Beach and a location to be named later.
Volusia Remembers is working to honor other local lynching victims. They were Lee Bailey, who died in 1891 near DeLand; Charles Harris and Anthony Johnson, both killed in 1896 near DeLand; and Herbert Brooks, who died between Ormond and Daytona.
Grimes emphasized, “We are humanizing these people. They were brothers, husbands, fathers, neighbors, sons and more who never got justice within our justice system.”
For more information visit www.volusiaremembers.org.
Retired telephone company worker Fred Beneby is ensuring residents of Seagrass Village, an assistant living facility in Port Orange, celebrate Black History Month.
Beneby has a display with artifacts showing achievements of African Americans, including politicians, inventors, lawyers, doctors, businesspeople, educators and amateur Negro Leagues in the main lobby.
On Feb. 21, he will show a 30-minute film on the Piney Woods School for the facility’s residents. The Piney Wood School is the largest African American boarding school. It was founded in 1909 in Piney Wood, Mississippi.
“Living here I found out that I am the only Black person. When hearing people talk about history, they don’t know much about Black History,” said Beneby.
“The manager wanted to do something, and she consulted me, and we came up with the display.”
In 2020, Beneby stood on the side of the road urging people to vote in the November election. In the past, he has helped to raise funds for scholarships for students at Bethune-Cookman University.
The Midtown Community Development Corporation is working on details for historical banners of local Black history makers in Daytona Beach.
A ceremony was originally planned for Feb. 15 but has been pushed back.
“It has been a delay. We are still hammering out the details and getting the banners done,” said Percy Williamson, chair of the corporation.
The campaign kicked off with banners of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr on International Speedway Boulevard from Nova Road to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard.
In Daytona, the City of Daytona Beach, NAACP, F.R.E.S.H. Book Festival and more have joined in to sponsor the project.
The Greater Union Life Center is displaying banners this month in downtown DeLand. Lake Helen and Deltona are displaying them as well.
Unity church service
Seven Words from the King Inc. is hosting a special community wide program on Feb. 21 at 3 p.m. at Master’s Domain Church of God in Christ, 511 Fremont Ave., Daytona Beach.
The service, titled “Bridging the Gap, Healing the Nation’’ will feature pastors from area churches and will include representation from the Republican and Democratic parties. The purpose is to promote unity between races, ethnicities and political parties.
To ensure social distancing, it will be held outside of the church with attendees urged to remain in their cars.
“It is going to be a large spirit-filled event,” said the Rev. Derrick Harris, pastor of Master’s Domain.
‘rePresent’ photo exhibit
Kenneth Grant Inspirations, a local photography firm, is presenting a display of positive African American imagery with its photo exhibit, “rePresent” at One Daytona at 1 Daytona Blvd.
A ticketed VIP event is set for Friday, Feb. 26 from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
On Saturday, Feb. 27 from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m., the event is open to the public. Local students are encouraged to attend.
For more information, contact LaToya or James Carey at 386-234-5532 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Deltas’ virtual program
The Daytona Beach Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority is hosting a virtual Black History Month celebration on historical sites via Zoom.
The event takes place on Feb. 25 from 5:45 to 6:45 p.m.
The Deltas will educate participants about the following historical locations in Volusia County: African American Museum of Arts in DeLand; Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Home; and the Mary S. Harrell Black Heritage Museum in New Smyrna Beach.
Bethune-Cookman University Assistant Professor Carla Lester will be the moderator.
Panelists will include Ann Harrell, board chair of the Mary S. Harrell Black Heritage Museum; Dr. Tasha Lucas-Youmans, the library dean at Bethune-Cookman; and Mary Allen, executive director of the African American Museum of Arts in DeLand.