Local church brings the past and present together in a first Black History Month celebration program

Posted at 12:26 AM, Feb 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-24 00:26:48-05

SUFFOLK, Va. -- Song, reenactments, and question-and-answers all played an important role during a special Black History Month program, "Living Legends, Rewriting Social Action." The program brought a crowd of attendees at the Little Bethel Baptist Church.

"It brings the community together, it helps us to reconnect with our history," Tiffany Whitfield, the program organizer, said. "It helps us retell stories of how living legends changed history."

This was the program's first year at the church, an appropriate location for this program because the church has a tight connection with the African-American history. The church, Whitfield said, was built by of freed African-American slaves.

"I hope that they know how important history is," Whitfield said. "I hope that they how important it is to retell history to younger people so that they don;'t forget their history."

Among the attendees were special guests -- the granddaughter of Dorothy Johnson Vaughn, an African American mathematician who worked for NASA. Also in attendance was Frederick Douglas, portrayed by actor Nathan Richardson who recited one of his quotes, "It is easier to build strong children, then to repair weak men."

Richardson was invited to the program to share who Douglas was and his principles. He portrayed Douglas for the last six years.

"He would have a challenge to Americans," Richardson explained, "to reinvest in the American idea and work across lines to help make a more perfect union."

As for next year, Whitfield said she is confident the program will return for a second year.

"I was overjoyed today. It was a wonderful celebration. Everyone enjoyed themselves, a lot of people learned things about history that they thought they knew and learned some new nuggets today."