LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — An event at a local church on Saturday put history-making trailblazers from the Michigan civil rights movement in the spotlight.
The special event was called “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow: A Black History Celebration,” and was hosted by the Bethel Community Seventh Day Adventist Church.
Hundreds of people gathered to the celebration to learn more about the accomplishments of Black leaders in mid-Michigan.
Showcasing the past was Barbara Mason, who was the first Black woman elected to statewide office in Michigan.
“I saw a picture of a 1968 civil rights march and I said, ‘Wow, that person looks familiar.’ And I was helping lead the march with Rev. Joseph Graves, who was very active in civil rights at that time,” Mason said.
Mason served as an inspiration for the next generation of civil rights activists like Elaine Hardy.
Hardy’s work with the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commission of Mid-Michigan has provided Black teens with college scholarships.
“If you can go to bed at night and you know that somebody somewhere is in bondage, then we are not free. Because we can’t be free unless all of us are free,” Hardy said.
One 11-year-old at the convention said she left the event feeling inspired to make change.
“If they’re dealing with something like racism or social injustice, I plan to help them with that and do what I can. I just plan on making a big movement,” Heiress Horn said.
More events celebrating Black history will be happening in Greater Lansing through February. MSU is celebrating the birthday of Fredrick Douglass on Tuesday.
You can find out more information about that event here.