LIMA — February marks Black History Month in the United States, but area black leaders remind us there are historic figures still doing good work in the region.
The week, The Lima News profiles five of those inspirational community leaders, Frank Lamar, Ann Miles, Chris Jackson, Beverly McCoy and the Rev. Bob Horton. Today we look at McCoy.
Beverly McCoy sat on a piano bench in her Lima home Thursday, reflecting on black history and how the city has contributed to it.
“I wish we did a lot more like we used to,” she said. "It’s really faded out.”
McCoy was a teacher for 22 years for Lima City Schools and now serves as the chairwoman for the Allen County Democratic Party. She is a member of the High Ho Club, Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, a black book club, Umogi, and another book club.
McCoy, who is originally from Cleveland, said she used to participate in a program that aired on WIMA-AM called “Black Issues in Time” that focused on issues that were going on in the black community. McCoy said there were also groups that used to do profiles on black leaders that were presented on the radio.
“And of course, during February, that’s just a flood of information,” she said. “We used to love doing that because it just filled this vacuum that there was.”
McCoy said there was also a program at Bradfield Center put on by Alpha Kappa Alpha known as the “Reading Buddy Program.” All year long, they would read stories that focused on black history.
“The one story that the kids loved to do because they were there over a period of years, they loved Harriet Tubman’s story,” she said. “The Martin Luther King story was also a very popular one.”
She has always been interested in black history, squeezing it into her curriculum as a teacher whenever she got a chance. She served as a commissioner at an African American History museum in Wilberforce a year ago, and she even took trips down to the museum to see quilts that were being made in honor of President Barack Obama.
“We started out taking black history tours. We went to Cincinnati to the African-American museum down there,” she said. “We went to the one up in Detroit. Those kinds of tours were great.”
Through some of the groups she belongs to, she also enjoys musicals and plays that highlight black achievements. But she expressed she was disappointed at how the black history education has declined.
“You see very little now. Do you hear anything on the radio anymore?” McCoy said. “It’s sad.”
One thing that has changed black history occurred in 2008, when the nation’s first black president was elected, McCoy said.
“I think it’s going to be a landmark in their lives,” she said. “Even more so as they get older.”
McCoy said she’d like to see Lima revert to more black history education.