East Caney Missionary Baptist Church members planning multiple community celebrations
Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

Feb. 1, 2007 - East Caney Missionary Baptist Church's month-long celebration of Black History Month kicked off Thursday with the presentation of the MLK Man of the Year award to Hopkins County Judge Cletis Millsap, who was unable to attend the 16th Annual Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Awards Ceremony held Jan. 15.

After Carolyn McKinney presented Millsap with the award, the judge issued a proclamation declaring February Black History Month in Hopkins County, marking it a time to "honor achievements of black people throughout American history."

Millsap noted that many individuals have and continue to "make greater our county" with their varied cultural and ethnic contributions and involvement in the community. 

East Caney church members joined Millsap in inviting the community to attend the Black History Month Celebration, slated to begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 6, in the second floor courtroom at Hopkins County Courthouse, where Millsap will read the full resolution.

Patricia Cooper will act as mistress of ceremonies. The Taylor-Hasley family "Praise Dancers" are slated to perform, and the Rev. Chris Spivey will read and speak on Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech. Dorothy Jo Thomas will present "Reflections on Black History" and Minister Delbert Williams will present "Music of Survival," which will take a look back at events and individuals of historical importance, as well as songs and spirituals which are tied directly to that subject. The event will close with the "Unity Circle."

Black History Month will really get into high gear at 10 a.m. this Saturday with the 4th annual Community-Wide African American Parade. The procession will begin at Cypress District Association Building located at 400 Como St. and continue to the H.W. Gray's Building in Pacific Park, where the "chili celebration" of appreciation kicks off.

The parade will include MLK award recipients, and floats and car fleets representing churches, sororities, fraternities, youth groups and local dignitaries. Anyone interested in participating in the fourth annual parade should contact Monica Hasley, parade chairperson, at 903-348-5891 as soon as possible.

The East Caney church's month-long tribute to African Americans will continue at 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17, in Cypress District Association Building with the NAACP Installation Program. Ivery Moore, past president of the NAACP-Commerce Chapter, will be the guest speaker. To be installed as this year's officers are East Caney pastor Dr. M. LaVelle Hendricks, president; Carolyn Malone Thomas, vice president; Silvesta Alexander, secretary; Ashanta Alexander, assistant secretary; and Freddie Taylor, treasurer.

�Black History Month will go out on a high note with the "J.D. Franklin 24 Influential African Americans Program," honoring 24 African Americans determined to be the most influential in Hopkins County. The program begins at 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24, in Cypress District Building.�

To be honored this year Deacon Tommy Clayton, Lamar Elementary Principal Rowena Johnson, Sister Stephanie Conley, Brother Lawrence A. Spigner Jr., Missionary Sandra Lindley, Sister Elizabeth Shaw, Sister Tabatha McQueen, Deacon Rickey Godbolt, Missionary Lucy Phifer, Sister Rita Taylor, Sister Betty Thompson, Sister Vanessa Alexander, the Rev. Chris Spivey, Mother Nora Wheeler, Mother Clara Bridges, Sister Sandra Askew, Pastor D.K. Young, the Rev. Rufus Nash, Sister Gloria Franklin, Sister Ramona Hynson, Deacon Clyde Alexander, Deacon John Harris, the Rev. Joyce Moore and Sister Arlene Lewis.

Deacon Rickey Godbolt of Morning Chapel Missionary Baptist Church will be the keynote speaker at the program, honoring "those who have given so much to us."

East Caney Missionary Baptist Church also holds an annual pastor's anniversary appreciation program the second weekend in February.

The 16th Anniversary Appreciation Program honoring Dr. M. LaVelle Hendricks begins with the 16th Anniversary Gospel Musical at 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10, and concludes Sunday, Feb. 11, with the appreciation service which begins at 3 p.m. Pastor Kenneth Rogers and members of St. Paul Baptist Church of Paris will be special guests at the two-day event. This year's theme will be “Growing A Stronger Church.”

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