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St. Francis of Assisi observes Black History Month

The children of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church led the congregation in its annual observance of Black History Month with music, a parade, and reflections.

The historic Bessemer parish, under the leadership of Father Paul Asih, M.S.P, traditionally follows the theme established by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), an organization founded in 1915 by Dr. Carter G. Woodson.

Each Sunday during Black History Month, at the conclusion of Mass, the youth of St. Francis examined the lives of African Americans seeking the American promise of freedom, liberty, and justice for all.

The month’s celebration concluded with a parade finale, where the song “Stand Up” by Cynthia Erivo, from the movie “Harriet,” was featured. The parade was led by flag bearers, with all youth dressed in African attire. The youth portrayed several important people who may not be as well known, including Anna Louise James, the first black pharmacist in Connecticut, and Gerald Lawson, the first black video game designer. They also showcased Coretta Scott King, Ruby Bridges, Jackie Robinson, Betty Shabazz, W.E.B. Du Bois, Barack Obama, and many others. 

Under the direction of Angela Wilson and Wanda Williams, this year’s Black History Month presenters included Onyi Ani, Bailey Griffin, Brayden Griffin, Cayden James, Charlie Lawson, Olivia Lawson, Alex Orji, Daniel Orji, Kelechi Orji, Ugo Orji, Cole Perryman, Chase Smith, King Smith, Navy Smith, Nevaeh Smith, Nicharra Smith, Noelle Smith, Nyomii Smith, Riley Smith, and Zania Wilson. Edith Aguillard, DRE, provided assistance with the finale.