Colony Councilwoman Ethel Alexander helped plan and put on Colony’s celebration. / W.C. Mann
COLONY – On Sunday afternoon, the town of Colony kicked off Black History Month at its Educational Complex with “Colony: a Celebration of Life.” The event included stories of the founding of Colony by freed slaves shortly after the end of the Civil War, life in Colony before the days of electricity and running water, and the old Colony School.
Looking outside Colony’s town limits, attendees also heard about historical contributions of African Americans to the fields of science, industry, business and agriculture.
The program was full of music, including classic spirituals like “Wade in the Water,” “Go Down, Moses,” “When the Saints Go Marching In” and “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” and gospel greats like “Down to the River to Pray,” “We’ll Understand It Better By and By” and “His Eye is on the Sparrow.”
The celebration was sponsored by Cullman’s Benedictine Sisters, who not only turned out in good numbers themselves, but also brought a contingent of guest nuns from numerous other convents.
Event coordinator Sister Margaret Mary Liang told The Tribune, “There’s a big conference of all the administrators and superiors from all over the Northeast and maybe even farther. That’s why they were here (in Cullman). So I brought them here to experience a different feeling for what people are in the town, and the history of the town.”
When asked what led her to sponsor this particular event, Liang responded, “Because I just thought it was a wonderful idea, because it’s a very quiet community. You know, they don’t talk about themselves, but I think it’s a very protected community. So that’s why I thought it was important to highlight the group.”
The Benedictine Sisters plan to return this summer to lead a series of children’s activities in the Colony community.
Councilwoman Ethel Alexander, along with community representatives Barbara Bradford, Linda Johnson, Jamelle Dimbo and Daja Miller, worked with the sisters from Colony’s end to plan and put on the event.
After the celebration, Alexander told The Tribune, “It was beautiful! I really, really feel like it was a jumping start for our celebration–the 200-year celebration of Alabama–and I believe this is one of our biggest events (by turnout). And we hope to do some more toward the 200 years of Alabama being a state, and I’m just glad to be a part of it. And there’s going to be some more!”
Alabama is in the midst of the Alabama Bicentennial commemoration, “Alabama 200,” which will culminate in 2019. See more at www.Alabama200.org.
“I love to brag about Colony, because it is, first of all, a community that was birthed from my people. And so, to see it here today, with all the beautiful buildings we have–our (Educational) Complex, our (town) hall, our senior citizens’ (center)–it’s a community that has a lot that people don’t know . . . It’s something that I hold and treasure.”
Colony Mayor Donnis Leeth smiled, “The day’s been great! The Lord made this day happen, and it was great. And all the sisters that come today from over the world, I’m really excited about that.
“The ones from Cullman, they did great. And Miss Margaret, the sister who lives in Cullman, she is a magnificent, fantastic lady. She put all this stuff together for us, and I enjoyed it.
“The thing about Colony these days is, it’s a fantastic (place) to live, and we’re trying to get a Dollar General down here, and start from there–small–and make it grow. Other things’ll come to the Colony, I hope. In my four years–I’ve got three more years left–and I’m going to try and make something happen, me and the council members–make something happen in the Colony that’ll be great. And our grandkids and kids will remember that: what their grandparents done.”
Coming to Colony
Colony will hold a second Black History Month event on Feb. 24 for both area children and the community at large, focusing on music.
According to Councilman Curtis Johnson, Colony intends to reopen its gym and community center for summer activities this year, and plans are already underway for a repeat of last year’s highly successful summer feeding program. (See www.cullmantribune.com/articles/2017/07/13/colony-fills-vacant-council-seat-good-news-summer-food-program)
See a video of “Colony: A Celebration of Life” at www.facebook.com/CullmanTribune/videos/1632083206853368/.
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