Sweet Water High School holds annual Black History Program

Published 4:27 pm Thursday, February 15, 2024

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Sweet Water High School (SWHS) hosted its Black History Program titled “Break Every Chain: Emancipation and Beyond” on Monday, Feb. 12.

The program featured students and school faculty members. The guest speaker was supposed to be Reginal Abernathy, but he was unfortunately unable to attend due to an emergency at his home.

The welcome was presented by new SWHS principal Marc Alan Tracy, and the opening prayer came from Deion Blanks.

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Musical performances came from the SWHS band who performed the song “Steal Away”, and the Sweet Water Black History Chorus performed “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around.”

Poems and readings were presented by SWHS students. Ethan Carr read Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation, EJ Lucy read “Emancipation”, a poem by Paul Lawrence Dunbar, and Amber Lewis gave a short presentation on Hiram Revels.

Ava Cade read “Through My Eyes,” written by Ruby Bridges, and Ja’Kiya Powell read “We’re On Our Way” by Fannie Lou Hamer.

The guest speaker for the event, Reginal Abernathy, was not present, but a short presentation by Amari McDaniel provided those in attendance with some information about him.

Reginal Abernathy is the great-nephew of Ralph David Abernathy who was a Baptist Minister and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s chief partner in the Civil Rights Movement. Ralph Abernathy helped to organize the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). He succeeded King as the SCLC president after King was assassinated in 1968.

Reginal Abernathy is from Linden and works at the Abernathy Funeral Home. He began working at the funeral home 40 years ago when he was only 14 years old.

Band and Music teacher, Kory Boyett, closed out the program with a word of encouragement to SWHS students.

“As Dr. Martin Luther King stated, he had a dream. A dream where one day his children could live in a nation where they would not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. I sincerely believe this reality is achievable and can be found here at Sweet Water High School,” said Boyett. “It’s a place like no other where students can experience excellence no matter their background or skin color. They can forge friendships and reach goals that are only possible when we work together.”