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Peagler highlights locals making a difference

Longtime educator Doris Peagler served as the keynote speaker at Greenville Middle School’s Black History Month program Thursday morning.

Longtime educator Doris Peagler served as the keynote speaker at Greenville Middle School’s Black History Month program Thursday morning.

Doris Peagler was right at home on Thursday.

The Butler County native and retired educator was once again in front of a room full of students — this time at Greenville Middle School for the school’s Black History Month program.

Peagler, who served as the keynote speaker for the program, shared with students that it’s important to reflect on black history, because it’s impossible to tell the story of America, without telling the story of African-Americans.

“We find that the history of African-Americans unfolded across the canvas of America, beginning with the Mayflower and continuing to the present,” she said. “From port cities where Africans disembarked from slave ships, to the battlefields where their decedents fought for freedom. From colleges and universities where they pursued education, to places where they created communities through centuries of migration. The imprint of African-American decedents is deeply imbedded in the narrative of the American past. One cannot tell the story of America without observing and reflecting on the places where African-Americans have made history.”

Peagler stressed to students that it’s important to continue to tell the stories of prominent African-Americans such as Civil Rights pioneers Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Rosa Parks or abolitionist and humanitarian Harriet Tubman, who led many slaves to freedom via the Underground Railroad, but that one doesn’t have to look into a history book to find African-Americans that have made a difference.

She said one needs only to look around the community.

Peagler listed off a list of locals, such as retired educator Willie Mae Robinson, who each February hosts a Black History Month exhibit at the Robinson Activity Center, Butler County Commissioner Allin Whittle, longtime business owner Eugene Hudson and Chris Womack, executive vice president and president of external affairs for Southern Company.

“I now believe that we should shine the light on others who have made contributions as well,” she said.

Peagler also stressed to the students that they too can make a difference.

“It’s time for you to be all that you are capable of being,” she said. “We are depending on you. It’s you that will be making history 20 years from now.”

During the program, students also paid tribute to Carter G. Woodson an African-American historian, author, journalist and the founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. Woodson is also known as the “Father of Black History Month.”