by Thomas E. Mitchell, Jr.
The second in a series of luncheons honoring pioneering African American teachers is set for Saturday, August 21 at Serb Hall, 5101 W. Oklahoma Ave.
The honorees slated to be recognized during the luncheon are: Dessie Harris, Myrtle Hyman, Janice Gay, Bernice Calvin, Mary Ball, Bennie Hyman, Hazel Jackson, James Smallins, John Davis, Henrietta Lamb and Gertrude Payton.
Historic African American Teachers (HAAT)of MPS is an organization recently formed to honor retired African Americans teachers ages 75 to 101. The organization held its first luncheon July 17.
Vicki Singh, who took up a challenge by Reuben Harpole to honor retired Black educators, said luncheon honorees and guests will receive a large sized souvenir magazine.
Additionally, the magazine will contain congratulatory ads from well-wishers—many of them representing area churches, business and family members—and a review of the first HAAT luncheon.
Honorees and guests from the July luncheon were given souvenir magazines as well. The magazines are free to honorees and people who paid for an ad.
The August 21 luncheon will also see the unveiling of two scholarship programs. The first is called “B.L.I.C.K.S.” named after seven women who were working moms and prominent members of the community.
B.L.I.C.K.S. stands for Bessie Watson, Lucille Meneese, Irene White, Cassie Weaver, Castella White, Katherine Hernandez and Susie Abney. Each of these historic women represents seven scholarships that will be awarded to seven contemporary working mothers to pursue education in the occupations each of the aforementioned woman was in.
The scholarships (one each) are for music, hospitality/tourism, nursing, editing/journalism, computer science/graphics; education, linguistics and cosmetology respectively.
“We’re proud of this (scholarship) program,” Singh said in an interview. “It celebrates community women and let’s people know HAAT is not just about celebrating teachers; but also encouraging education.”
The other scholarship will be awarded to one individual who wants to teach science. Applicants can apply for scholarships online at HAAT’s website, HAATOFMPS.org. Applicants for the scholarships must be African American or Hispanic and submit three letters of reference and a writing sample. All ages can apply.
Singh said HAAT is positioning itself to be a repository for teachers and their contributions to education.
For more information on HAAT and/or the luncheons, call 551-2107.
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