Colony Senior Center celebrates Black History Month and 45th anniversary

On Friday, Feb. 24, 2023, members of the Colony Senior Center gathered to celebrate Black History Month and the center’s 45th anniversary. (Amy Leonard for The Cullman Tribune)

COLONY, Ala. – Black History Month is an annual celebration that takes place in the United States and Canada in February, to recognize and celebrate the achievements of African Americans. It is a month dedicated to honoring the legacy of black history, and also to reflect on how far we have come as a nation since then.  

In Colony, the holiday means far more than it does to most other residents of Cullman County. The month is spent celebrating the lives, positive impact and contributions of all Black Americans and, just as important, each other. 

Black History Month, which was first officially celebrated in 1926 by historian Carter G. Woodson, was honored at the Colony Senior Center Friday, along with the center’s 45th anniversary of service to the town’s elders. The purpose of Woodson’s initiative was to highlight the contributions and struggles of African Americans throughout history and encourage pride in their heritage. The seniors of Colony know those struggles firsthand, have their own stories to tell and fully exemplify Former First Lady Michelle Obama’s words of, “When they go low, we go high.” 

In preparation for Friday’s party, Colony Senior Center Manager Rhonda Brewer gave the seniors homework. They were tasked with finding a school picture of themselves and filling out a questionnaire. The seniors returned their assignments to Brewer, and she went to work having the photographs, many of which were damaged over the years, restored and carefully typing up the questionnaires. When the seniors arrived Friday morning, they were greeted by a corkboard displaying all of their restored photographs with the questionnaires behind the respective pictures. 

The seniors delighting in seeing their eyes of youth staring back at them as they reflected on the decades passed. Giggling once again like young school kids, they lovingly looked at one another’s pictures and the photos of their siblings. Mary Luedell’s picture was a favorite with her timeless beauty and flawless complexion.  

Black History Month serves to commemorate the struggles that this community has faced. That includes raising awareness about police brutality, racism and discrimination within educational, employment and housing systems.  

One of the best ways to show your support for Black History Month is by engaging in conversations that focus on the issues faced by Black friends and neighbors. This could mean discussing (or better yet, listening as they share) their experiences or thoughts on topics such as racial inequality and personal history. 

Black History Month is an important celebration that serves to honor the accomplishments of Black Americans throughout history, while also raising awareness about modern forms of injustice they still face today.