There’s an old saying that goes “there are three people in life: those who watch things happen, those who make things happen…and those who wonder “what happened?'” Dr. Alferdteen Harrison is one of those people who MAKES things happen.
When Jackson’s first public school for African Americans, Smith Robertson School, was slated for demolition, Dr. Harrison helped to organize a petition for the building’s salvation. That effort led to a massive renovation of the building which is being used today as a museum that seeks to evoke the African American experience in the Deep South.
When the Lynch Street building that formerly housed the headquarters of the Council of Federated Organizations was at risk at becoming only a memory and not a tangible piece of history, Dr. Harrison wrote the grant that stabilized the structure and led to its eventual renovation. And when Ayer Hall, the oldest building on the campus of Jackson State, was in need of a facelift, Dr. Harrison was there to guide that project as well.
Dr. Harrison’s work exudes a statement that history should be seen, heard, and read. Her lectures to many students, publishing of many written works, and saving of many historically significant structures prove this. A woman such as this must be recognized and shown appreciation for her many good deeds, and on Saturday, January 22, such recognition will be given.
Connecting the Dots Foundation and New Horizon Ministries will host a Mississippi Black History Celebration tomorrow, January 22, and will feature two events. The first event will take place at 9 a.m. in Rose E. McCoy Auditorium and is entitled “Black History with a Mission: From Africa to America”. This session will feature speeches and performances by former Mississippi Governor William Winter, Jim Hill High School Choir, Ballet Magnificat!, Mississippi School of the Arts Chorale, and various veterans of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement. This segment of the celebration is free and open to the public.
At 7 p.m., the celebration will feature the International African Ball at the Jackson Convention Complex. The special honoree for the ball is the aforementioned West Jackson resident, Dr. Alferdteen Harrison.
Other notable figures/groups to receive recognition include Mississippi Representative Alyce Clarke, Dr. John Perkins (both are West Jackson residents), Oleta Garrett Fitzgerald, Reverend Rims Barber, Dr. Dolphus Weary, Owen Brooks, Attorney Constance Slaughter, Flonzie Brown Wright, Reverend John E. Cameron, Sr., and the M.W. Stringer Grand Lodge (Masonic Temple). Entertainment will be provided by the Russell Thomas Musical Experience.
Tickets for the International African Ball are $50 and can be purchased both BeBop Record Shop locations, the Coliseum Box Office, and New Horizon Bookstore.
For more information on this celebration, call 601.813.5045.
P.S. Event sponsors include Liberty Bank, WLBT, NISSAN, Mid-Delta Home Health & Hospice, and Jackson State University.