WHEREAS, much of Van Buren Township’s honor, strength, and distinction can be attributed to the diversity of cultures and traditions that are celebrated by the residents of this great region; and
WHEREAS, African Americans have played a significant role in the history of our nation and our community’s economic, cultural, spiritual, and political development; and
WHEREAS, in 1976 Black History Month was formally adopted to honor and affirm the importance of Black History; and
WHEREAS, Black History Month is a time for us to remember the stories and lessons of those who helped build our nation, realizing that Black History is American History, and that it is intertwined with the founding of America. Black History is full of individuals who took a stance against prejudice, advanced the cause of civil rights, strengthened families, communities, and our nation; and
WHEREAS, many distinguished African Americans have made contributions to our local community, including Beverly Jenkins, accomplished author of over 30 novels and nominated in 2013 for NAACP image award; Albert Harris, proprietor of Grandpa’s Toys and patriarch of one of the first African American families in Van Buren Township; Charles Covington, local businessman; Leon Wright, entrepreneur and Van Buren Township’s first African American board member and clerk; Brenda McClanahan, Van Buren Township’s first African American Trustee; and others, such as Leonard Armstrong, Carl McClanahan, Bruce Ross, Sharon Peters, Lisa Martin, and many others that have contributed greatly to the Van Buren community and the betterment of others; and
WHEREAS, the Old Indian Trial which ran along the I-94 corridor through the Van Buren area was a stop on the Underground Railroad, most notably William and James’ Belle House on Edison Street; as well as the primarily African American Willow Run Village which contributed to the B-24 Bomber Plant; and
WHEREAS, the Van Buren Township Board of Trustees encourages all residents to honor the many contributions made by African Americans throughout the region and to participate in the many educational events honoring the contributions of African Americans; and recognize the daily struggles of African Americans past and present; and
NOW THEREFORE, I, Kevin McNamara, Supervisor of Van Buren Township, on behalf of the Van Buren Township Board of Trustees, do hereby proclaim in the Township of Van Buren the month of February 2017 as Black History Month.
Kevin McNamara, Supervisor
Editor’s Note: The above was read by VBT Trustee Kevin Martin at the Feb. 7 meeting of the board of trustees.