Students inspired to overcome

Published 11:03 pm Saturday, February 7, 2009

ROME TOWNSHIP — Black History Month gives all of us the opportunity to be inspired.

That was the message the Rev. Eric Lewis, pastor of Christ Temple AOH of Huntington, W.Va., gave to the students of Fairland West Elementary School.

Lewis was the guest keynote speaker at the school’s Black History Month celebration Friday afternoon.

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“It inspires us to know we can overcome and achieve what we seek,” the clergyman told a packed gym.

He told the children he was offering a new version of the ABCs: Achievement, Belief and Courage. Those were the three qualities that were the root of the accomplishments of the black community.

“Blacks have had difficulties that were unfavorable, but they didn’t allow them to cause them to quit,” he said. “So many disadvantaged African-Americans achieved through their belief and courage.”

He then went on to list African Americans whose contributions to society are still enjoyed today, including George Washington Carver, a 19th century botanist and inventor who developed a variety of uses for the peanut, and George Crum, who in 1853 invented the potato chip.

Later the minister said Black History Month is important because “it helps us to recognize the achievements of blacks through difficult times, those not afforded the luxury of opportunity and finances.

Introducing Lewis, who lives in Proctorville and whose children attend Fairland schools, was Sandy Joseph, administrative assistant at Fairland West.

“History is a fascinating story about our past and of the people who changed our world,” she said. “Black history is part of American history.”

Also performing at the assembly were the fourth grade chorus, the I-Town Step Dancers from Ironton High School and Fairland parents, Michael and Melissa Tubbs who performed traditional spirituals and an original poem.