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By Kathy Barr



Elder Harold Brown traveled to the Greater Independent Baptist Church in Haskell from Hamlin to speak at the church celebration of Black History Month. In his sermon, Elder Brown reminded the audience that faith is the victory. “Persistence and the ability to overcome adversity will determine how high you reach,” he said. “Never say never or stop believing in {{more}} yourself. Follow your dreams – we need dreams to elevate ourselves.” He also reminded the audience the importance of leading a life that is pleasing to God. “You can’t raise hell and go to heaven,” he said. There are four things, Elder Brown said, that we all need. The Lord, our enemies, our friends and our cheerleaders. He said that our enemies bring out the best in us and friends can encourage us when times are difficult. Later in his talk, Elder Brown said that inventions that have improved American lives that were invented by African-Americans include the air conditioner, made by Herbert Jones, cell phones and blood plasma bags. He pointed out that most American history books do not give enough credit to African-Americans for the contributions they have made. Other ministers that gave a message included J.C. Amburn from the Assembly of God, Bruce Ray from the Church of God and Richard Barr from First Christian Church. Pastor Amburn said that God told him to see everyone in the world as being precious, because they were precious enough that God sent Jesus to die for their sins. The pastor said he reminds himself of this especially in situations where there are problems between people, and treating people as being special has helped him to bring about reconciliation. Pastor Ray said he is glad that the Church of God is becoming more welcoming of African-Americans. Richard Barr said that we need to undo the bad teaching that prejudice is acceptable, and he hopes that there will be more services like this throughout the year. Four students from Haskell Elementary School said that they did a service project in honor of Martin Luther King because King encouraged public service as a way to improve communities. “We have a dream to take the first step in the beautification of Haskell,” one of the students said. Haskell High School coach Toby Villa talked about the fact that in 2007 we will be celebrating the 50th Anniversary of school integration in Little Rock, Arkansas. He discussed the accomplishments of the “Little Rock Nine”, the students who first integrated schools in this town that was well-known for its prejudicial attitudes. The students had to endure taunts, having items thrown at them, and being spat upon because of their desire to have a decent education. Mr. Villa said that The Little Rock Nine is quite an accomplished group. One of them received a scholarship to go to college from an anonymous donor, and was astounded to find out later that his high school principal had donated the money for the scholarship. Apparently, the principal had a reputation for being bigoted, but this action erased any doubt in this student’s mind that the principal wanted him to succeed. Another of the nine became an accountant for the U.S. Dept. of Defense, another became an educator after receiving his doctorate, and one worked as a journalist after graduating from Columbia University. Singing was interspersed throughout the service. At the beginning of the program, Mae Lou Yeldell, who was directing the service, led the congregation in singing “Amazing Grace.” In addition to congregational singing, a community choir provided a few specials, including the well-known “Kumbayah.” After the service, the church provided a meal of chicken, chicken salad sandwiches, chips and cookies.

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