Annual Black History program honors leaders

Reverend Michael Page and Mrs. Page lead the honorees festively down the aisle in the processional. (Staff photo by Maddie Marshall)

History has a way of repeating itself. At Antioch Baptist Church, one could see the history of black excellence continued to repeat itself.

On Sunday, Feb. 25, Antioch Baptist Church in Durham held its annual African-American History Celebration program. The event featured numerous speakers, performers, honorees and representatives from outside the Durham community.

Carl Hodges, 96, receives his honor with a big smile from Rev. Micheal Page.

Ebenezer Baptist Church in Charlotte brought its hymnal choir. Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church’s choir performed, too. Both choirs were dressed in Afrocentric garb, demonstrating pride in their blackness.

Ebenezer sung songs reminiscent of how God had guided the ancestors of African-Americans through the obstacles they experienced. Emmanuel AME Choir had more contemporary selections.

Immeasurable, a musical duo, also gave an energetic and unique performance characterized by praise.

The Rev. Michael D. Page, Antioch Baptist Church’s lead pastor, helped start the African-American History Celebration. Page envisioned a distinct platform that highlighted the variety of talents and achievements of black citizens living in Durham.

“Reverend Page had a vision of honoring members of Durham’s black community,” said Antioch Baptist Church’s associate pastor, the Rev. Kelsey Lodge.

Tia Nicole Blackmon accepts her great honor that demonstrates the results of her hard work and early wisdom.

Honorees have been of all different ages, backgrounds and talents. Among the honorees this year were a high school student, a baker and a former Durham County Public School Superintendent.

This year’s six honorees were Amy Trice, Tia Nicole Blackmon, Rep. MaryAnn Black, Dr. Joyce Perry Edwards, Phil Freelon and Carl Hodges.

Amy Trice, owner of AmyCakes, has baked for various churches in the Durham community, including Antioch Baptist Church, on numerous occasions. She has become especially valuable in helping churches prepare for the first Sunday of the month, as they use her unleavened bread in communion services.

This is the first year Trice has been able attend the program. She was ecstatic.

“There has always been some program happening at my church. So, I was always unable to attend,” Trice said. “When I received the call about me being honored, I was crying in my car.”

Blackmon was the youngest honoree. At 17 years old, she is already inspiring other youth in Durham with her initiative. She partnered with her father to bring tasty food through Tia’s Hot Dogs to her community. She was also crowned as Miss Cinderella in the 44th Annual Cinderella/Prince Charming Pageant held by Phi Delta Kappa International.

Amy Trice joyfully accepts her award from Reverend Michael Page on Sunday, Feb. 25. (Staff photo by Maddie Marshall)

Blackmon attends Southern High School of Energy and Sustainability and is involved with the biomedical program there.  She said that, after she graduates, she wants to attend Winston-Salem State University or the University of North Carolina at Greensboro to major in nursing.

“This program shows youth in the community to get out and do something in their community,” said Blackmon.

Every year, the program has demonstrated that excellence within the black community does not have to fit inside a specific kind of box. No action is too small to be recognized. Each contribution that adds to the richness of the community is important.

“It gives the Durham community a way to learn about the heroes in their backyard. We only hear about national heroes,” said the Rev. Lodge.

Antioch Baptist Church, through developing its African-American History Celebration, is showing that black history is something that continues to be made daily.

Dr. Joyce Perry Edwards accepts her award with great pride. (Staff photo by Maddie Marshall)

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