ADA — The annual Ada Community Black Heritage Program was held Sunday afternoon at Willard school, with several entertainers on hand, along with Rev. Walter Whitney II serving as guest speaker.

"I think it's actually a celebration of history," Whitney said. "Black History Month started in 1926, but the blacks have not done it alone; it's been the Native Americans to help us, it's been the whites that have helped us too. Black history is American history."

With "Lift Every Voice" serving as the theme for this year's event, the program was highlighted with several musical moments sprinkled throughout the afternoon. Dallas, Texas group, Jinnean Askew and singers led the attendees in a spirit-filled medley of Christian songs, while Cletus Lowe Jr. also performed a song of faith. The Hammond Heights Community Choir sang harmonies that reflected the Christian religion.

"I thought today's program was great," Morris J. Gonsoulin, Ada, said. "I think it will give the community a better understanding as to how people feel and what was accomplished in prior years, and ideas of what we can look forward to in the future."

Whitney's address noted the accomplishments of past achievers, such as Martin Luther King Jr.

"Everyone remembers 'I have a dream,' but what happened to the dream?" he said. "The first time people got satisfied, we began to slide. The body in motion, stays in motion. The body at rest, stays at rest."

Rev. Charles Miller said the program reflected tones that were apparent during the history of African Americans.

"This is what is real, what you saw today," he said. "The church atmosphere, that at one time was all we had to hold onto as people. This program is basically going back to our roots."

Between the presentations, the winners of the Black Heritage Essay contest were announced.

Deonte Greenhoward of Homer School won the Grade-3-6 division, Mark Greenhoward of Byng School won the 7-9 division, Tatum Cobb of Ada High School won the 10-12 division and Joshua Morris, freshman at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah won the college division. All winners received a $100 savings bond.

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