Corine Brown doesn’t want to belittle the education a young Black person could get at any university.
You could just learn more about yourself at a Historically Black College or University, she said.
“It’s important to get an education from somewhere where you think that you could learn about your heritage, your life, your your history, your ancestors’ life,” said Brown, a proud graduate of Mississippi Valley State University, an HBCU probably best known as the place NFL Hall of Famer Jerry Rice attended.
She and her fellow committee members at St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church in Lima especially want young people to learn about the influence of A.M.E. founder Richard Allen on the educational scene.
Allen is right up there with the “three M’s” of Black history, Brown said, alongside Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and Medgar Evers. He started the denomination after being thrown out of a Philadelphia church for moving from the balcony to the chapel to pray one Sunday.
“The A.M.E. church has continued to work to educate our ranks. As a Black person, you need so much to get so far,” Corine Brown said. “And then you’ve got to push yourself after that. So we want to give them a base that this is where to start.”
That’s why they invested their time and effort in putting together their annual Black History Month display, “We Are A.M.E.” People can view it every Sunday in February following the 10 a.m. service at the church, 1103 W. Spring St., Lima.
The display walks through the various seminaries, colleges and even a high school in Haiti influenced by Allen and the A.M.E. movement.
Alongside colorful T-shirts and hats for schools such as Edward Waters University in Jacksonville, Fla., are carefully researched sheets explaining the history of these storied institutions.
There are also displays on Allen University in Columbia, S.C.; Morris Brown College in Atlanta; Paul Quinn College in Dallas; Shorter College in Rome, Ga.; and Wilberforce University, right here in Ohio, just east of Dayton.
It’s a labor of love for the other committee members, including Joanne Baker, Mildred Jackson, Arthur Pugh, Linda Pugh and Evelyn Smith, with the group chaired by Charles Brown, Corine’s college sweetheart at Mississippi Valley State and now husband.
The group will also offer its Black History Box Lunch event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Feb. 23. The box lunch price is $12 at the church, led by the pastor, the Rev. Tracy Cross.
There isn’t a large youth population at St. Paul A.M.E., but the church members hope youth will come to learn about the A.M.E.’s past, which is instrumental in forming their future, whether they know it or not.
“We wanted these kids to understand how important it is to get an education,” Brown said. “… So that’s what we’re pushing this year. We are A.M.E., and we’re proud of who we are and what we have accomplished and what we have started and we have continued through the years.”
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See past columns by David Trinko at LimaOhio.com/tag/trinko.