Monday, February 25, 2013

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February 25, 2013 - 3:24pm
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  HATTIESBURG - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights icons would be disappointed in the climate of the United States of 2013, Ike Haynes said during the annual Black History Month observance at Pearl River Community College’s Forrest County Center.
  Haynes, the first Aftrican-American superintendent of the Jefferson Davis County schools and a member of the PRCC Board of Trustees, was the keynote speaker for the seventh annual observance.
  “If you do not become well acquainted with the past, you are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past,” Haynes said. The “have and have-not” America that King decried still exists today, he said.
  “Today if Dr. King were alive, I venture to say he would be very disappointed in us,” Haynes said. “The civil rights movement had a lot of good white people, a lot of good black people ... who talked about how we should all get along and work together.”
  Haynes listed three major obstacles standing in the way of the future King envisioned - the lack of effective early childhood education, gun violence and low expectations and achievements of black males. The solution to all three problems is to raise expectations, he said.
  “A rising tide certainly raises all boats,” he said.
  PRCC student Melissa Stewart encouraged the audience to actively work against prejudice of all kinds.
  “The walls of prejudice are still being built,” she said. Stewart described herself as a gay white woman and recovering drug addict.
  “If you strip me down, I am nothing more than a human being,” she said. Labels are the materials used to build the walls of prejudice, she said.
  “It would be a great injustice not to continue to knock down the walls of prejudice wherever we find them,” she said.
  The program also include a performance by The Voices, PRCC’s a capella ensemble.
  The observance was sponsored by the PRCC History and Humanities Club.

Haynes

Ike Haynes, superintendent of the Jefferson Davis County schools, speaks during the Pearl River Community College Black History Month observance on Feb. 25 at the Forrest County Center.
PRCC Public Relations photo

stewart

Student Melissa Stewart speaks during the Pearl River Community College Black History Month observance on Feb. 25 at the Forrest County Center.
PRCC Public Relations photo

voices

The Voices ensemble sings during the Black History Month observance Feb. 25 at the PRCC Forrest County Center.
PRCC Public Relations photo