By Kevin M. Smith
Killeen Daily Herald
A small crowd got a glimpse of black history at Killeen City Hall on Tuesday.
In a proclamation ceremony declaring February as Black History Month, Mayor Timothy Hancock talked about black history in the making while inventions of African-Americans were on display.
"I have deep, deep emotions about celebrating black history," said Hancock, who is Killeen's first black mayor.
Hancock said he was at Fort Hood last week, and for the first time in his life, he was in the presence of three black brigade commanders in the 1st Cavalry Division.
"And that's history," Hancock said.
Hancock boasted about the progress black leaders have made in U.S. history the past couple of hundred years.
"We went from slavery to freedom," Hancock said.
He said freedom is a gift.
"Once a gift is given, it is for you to use as you see fit," Hancock said.
He said freedom has allowed him to do many things.
"My gift of freedom has allowed me to help youth, my gift of freedom has allowed me to recognize seniors before me," Hancock said.
At the ceremony, Hancock read a proclamation.
"African-Americans continue to make significant contributions in all aspects of society, every day moving closer to that vision of their ancestors easing the struggle for the future generations," Hancock said.
He also presented a plaque to the Killeen chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Phyllis Jones, of the Killeen NAACP, brought several items to display during the ceremony and reception at City Hall. The items included a hanger, clock, egg beater, padlock, spark plug, car jack, pencil sharpener, coffee and sugar. The items were all inventions or made possible by inventions from African-Americans.
"They are things you use every day," Jones said.
Sarah Boone invented the ironing board, G.F. Grant invented the golf tee, and T.W. Stewart invented the mop, just to name a few.
Hancock read the proclamation again during the Killeen City Council meeting following the ceremony. Lawrence Holly, of the Killeen NAACP, accepted the plaque and proclamation during the council meeting. Holly said he hopes race will not be an issue in the future.
"I hope that one day – maybe not in my lifetime – we would not be celebrating Black History Month ... We are one, we are Americans," Holly said.
Contact Kevin M. Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (254) 501-7550