Black history program focuses on successful So. Georgians - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Black history program focuses on successful So. Georgians

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Douglas-- Throughout the month students will spend time studying the history and accomplishments of Black Americans. But often times those who have made strides on the local level get overlooked.

A State trooper, a musician/minister, and a commercial pilot. All South Georgians hoping to pave the way for young minorities.

"Today we decided we would have a program so that our students could learn about the contributions and achievements that some of our local or rural area black people have made," says program coordinator Martha Carswell.

"I'm actually from Broxton Georgia and I grew up here in Coffee County. I was the first black trooper from this area," says State Trooper John Threat.

Threat has worked to keep the state's roadways safe since 1989. He says he's encountered racism and discrimination over the years, but tells students like him they can rise about the challenges.

"I grew up in Willacoochee, and there are so few black role models in this local area," says U. S. Airways pilot Donn Perkins. Perkins says that of the more than 88,000 American commercial pilots, only about 300 are black.

He encouraged the students at West Coffee Middle to make positive choices. "Students have the opportunity at least six times a day to make a good choice. Going from class to class they can choose to be enlightened or they can choose to be ignorant. The choice is theirs," Perkins says.

"We want our students to learn that they too can be successful if they make the right choices," says Carswell.

The speakers reminded students with good or bad the choices they make today will guarantee their position in life tomorrow.

This is the 13th annual Black history program at the school. The speakers got a chance to speak to more than 400 8th grade students.

posted by dave.miller@walb.com