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Plant City Observer Friday, Feb. 9, 2018 9 months ago

History roll call

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St. Mary’s Community Church is shaking things up in honor of Black History Month with a historic “roll call” skit, which will feature prominent members of the community performing as historic, revolutionary African Americans.
by: Breanne Williams Staff Writer

St. Mary’s Community Church is uniting the community in honor of Black History Month with a skit, which aims to show everyone can make a difference in their own unique way.

Though the church pays tribute to the month each year, this is the first time the doors are thrown open to the community with a unifying play. Prominent leaders in Plant City, like Commissioner Mary Mathis, William Thomas Jr., president of the Improvement League of Plant City, and Sharon Moody, chair of the Plant City Black Heritage Celebration Inc., will step into the shoes of some of history’s most influential African Americans.

They will participate in a “roll call” and share some lesser known facts about each person, as well as show their passion for building and reshaping their community. Every great dream begins with a dreamer and Sarah Governor, director of Education at St. Mary’s, said she hopes those who attend will walk away daring to be our nation’s next dreamer.

She said the idea for the skit was guided by God from its creation. When her pastor, Rev. Timothy Knighten Sr., told Governor she would be in charge of the event she prayed for guidance. Soon she came up with the “roll call” theme and before she knew it all six historic figures were chosen. It took even less time to choose who she’d like to inhabit those roles.

“I cannot state this enough, this plan was blessed from the beginning,” Governor said. “Everybody I asked said yes. Nobody turned me down. The more I got into it the better I felt about it. I wanted to choose some of the people of the past that are not talked about all of the time.”

The stories of Justice Thurgood Marshall, Maya Angelou, Nina Simone, E.J. Marshall, Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will all be shared. The more prominent figures, like King, will have a unique, more discreet anecdote than what is normally shared.

While the actors will enter the building as the characters they represent they will each finish their portion of the skit as themselves. Governor said this will help show attendees the dreams of leaders they have living right here in their backyards and will hopefully encourage youth to give back to and get involved in their community.

The skit is created in a way to educate viewers on the multifaceted aspects of each person’s character. She said it is unnerving how little younger generations know about those who paved the way to where we are today.

“I was telling (my grandson) you guys enjoy the fruit of these past characters’ labor,” Governor said. “They were the ones that fought and died and stood behind water hoses and dogs and were locked up. They did that for you. You all need to show appreciation for what they did, you say that ‘we fought’ and ‘we did this for our freedom.’ No, you didn’t. These other people did it and you’re enjoying it, but show them how much you appreciate it and advance even further by standing up for what is right.”

Educating oneself on the battles that have been waged throughout history is the first step in continuing the fight for progress, said Governor. The stories of King, Simone, Marshall and others show how each person used their unique personality and influence to reshape the world.

Governor didn’t have to look far to find the perfect local leaders to fill their shoes. Having been a principal at Marshall Middle School for years, Governor is well-immersed in the community. Drafting her all-star cast took mere moments and everyone agreed to help out.

“I grew up here in Plant City,” Governor said. “I know every one of them, I know what they stand for and I know their positions. I figured this will give them an opportunity to see what these people think, how they believe and what they believe in. When you see that often times you’re going to mimic what they’re doing or you’re going to learn something from it.”

The special presentation, to be held at 3 p.m. Feb. 18, will be a very organic performance. There will also be a raffle for different baskets at the event.

Breanne Williams is a staff writer for the Plant City Times and Observer. She joined in 2017 and covers all things community related. In her free time, she enjoys spending the day at Disney and has a 20-ounce cup of Starbucks coffee in her left hand at all times....

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