MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) – “Shaking Hands with the Future” celebrates its 7th year of inspiring youth on hometown role models.
The organization exposes young people to adults who look like them. Well, this year they’re exposing them to a group that doesn’t seem to have had an impact on the civil rights movement.
Many people take the time to recognize the African Americans who have made a difference in American history year after year in the month of February.
“This year, we want to talk about everyone who inspires us, supports us, champions us, mentors us and sustains us. They don’t look like us. The people we should hope to inspire and become like us shouldn’t look like us. They it’s about crossing color lines, religious lines, political lines, and any other line you can draw. It’s about coming together as a human race to make things better,” the Shaking founder said. Hands with the Future, Fannie Johnson.
Another group endured some of the same unfortunate treatment in the history books.
Some white Americans played a role in the moment of equality. Lloyd Gray’s father, Duncan Gray, was at the forefront of the civil rights movement.
“My father, the Reverend Duncan Gray Jr. was the principal of Saint Peters Episcopal Church in Oxford at the time of the integration of the University of Mississippi by James Meredith. He got involved because he felt it was his duty as a pastor to spread the gospel by trying to bring people together, to create opportunities for people who otherwise we are not allowed to do things the basic rights of American citizens,” Gray said.
Gray remembers the events his father went through during the civil rights movement.
“The civil rights movement was in full swing at that time. The Klan has been involved in deadly violence in Mississippi, including Meridian. He worked to rebuild black churches and synagogues here that were bombed. He has also worked with local black leaders to launch programs like Head Start and to help schools integrate successfully. He was very involved in reaching color lines in the community,” Gray said.
A local pastor said the movement was not just the solitary work of the African-American community, but the global effort of the American people.
“One of the things that we had in our favor was the Jewish community that was really supporting the civil rights movement, and the Mennonites were also supporting the movement with financial support. It was to the point where they got a backlash too. although black people. Their homes were bombed, they were watched and a lot of things happened to them because of their conscious objection to the treatment of minorities,” said the pastor of West Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church, Odell. Hopkins.
With all the burning of churches and crosses, hatred and segregation, Pastor Odell Hopkins said we have come a long way.
“These things that were supposed to hold us back – the fires and the bombings and the discrimination really catapulted us and motivated us to go higher and do better,” Hopkins said.
Fannie Johnson said it’s time we recognized all parties involved in the civil rights movement to educate young people and those around us this Black History Month.
Johnson also handed out a pin of two shaking hands, for his annual program.
Copyright 2022 WTOK. All rights reserved.