Area citizens recognized in Washington D.C.

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 23, 2005

REGION – Six area citizens have been making a difference in the Black Belt and most residents have probably never met them and may not know they exist.

Yet, their names were heard in the walls of The Decatur House in Washington, D.C. as they were recognized as “unsung heroes” at the 3rd Annual Celebration of Excellence reception during the Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference.

Congressman Artur Davis handpicked the six Black Belt community leaders and presented them with a statue to recognize their excellence Thursday, September 22.

Email newsletter signup

“We received submissions from our staff and members of the community,” Corey Ealons, representative of the office of Artur Davis, said. “Then we choose the citizens who have merit.”

This year’s honorees were: The late Maggie Bozeman, a legendary political activist and civil rights advocate. She was a teacher in Pickens and Sumter county schools where she believed in educating individuals about their right to vote and selecting officials who would support African American issues. Bozeman passed away in August 2004 at the age of 75 and her daughter, Punta Deleste Bozeman-Nickens, will accept the award.

Frances Ford has more than 30 years of committed work in healthcare in the Black Belt. He serves as the executive director and healthcare coordinator with Sowing Seeds of Hope, a non-profit, faith-based organization in Perry County that educates members of the community about making informed decisions.

District Attorney and the first African American to serve as DA in Dallas County, Michael Jackson, was honored as well. Jackson is the only DA of color in Alabama and has served as a Selma municipal judge.

Groesbeck Parham of the UAB medical school has conducted groundbreaking research in the fields of gynecology, oncology and heart disease. His most recent work examines the dietary habits of Black Belt families and he is currently working to educate individuals about how good eating choices contribute to health living and a long life.

The founder and president of Integrated Medical Systems, Inc., Gene Robinson, has devoted his life to working in medically underserved communities around the world. His most recent venture is the Instruments of Mercy Black Belt Healthcare Initiative.

Miles College student Portia Shepard was recognized as she pursues a bachelor’s degree in political science and serves as Student Government Association president. She maintains a 3.7 overall grade point average and is an active member of MTV’s Tock the Vote project. Shepard also serves as the business manager for the United Negro College Fund Pre-Alumni Council.

According to Ealons, the group arrived in D.C. Wednesday afternoon and will leave later today with their statues that Ealons described as having an “intricate design” which fits the occasion.