Black History Program

Residents of Green Meadow Haven were presented a special Black History Month program this week.  Guest speakers were Billy Henry, Jr. and his sister Carlena Henry.

Billy Henry is a coach and teacher at Red River High.  He said, “My area of expertise is athletics.  Athletics inspire you to beat the odds to achieve in everyday life.”  As examples, Henry presented Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Tiger Woods and others.

Henry said, “Abdul-Jabbar was the all-time leading scorer in the NBA, and he has six titles.  He is considered the greatest player in NBA history.  He grew up in New York and stood 5’ 8” in seventh grade.  He grew to 6’ 11” by the time he got out of college at UCLA and began his pro career.  He worked hard to make something of himself and inspire others.”

Another athlete Henry cited was Tiger Woods.  “My son Billy is inspired to play golf by Tiger Woods,” Henry said.  Woods was the first African-American to win the Masters golf tournament.  Henry said, “He went on to win another thirteen major tournaments.  And he came back to win the Masters in 2019.”

Other athletes Henry noted were gymnast Simone Biles and boxer Joe Lewis.  Henry told their stories and noted they all had great accomplishments in their lives and sports careers.

Henry concluded, “I love sports and how it can help a person get an education.  Get educated through sports and come back and support your community.”

His sister Carlena Henry spoke about the lives of Sarah Breedlove and Granville Woods.  Henry said, “She was known as Madam C.J. Walker, an American entrepreneur, philanthropist, and a political and social activist.  She was a self-made woman and the wealthiest African-American businesswoman at the time of her death in 1919.”

Henry said, “Breedlove suffered hair loss and in 1905 she was searching for a solution to problems Black women have with their hair.  She was inspired and she helped people with their own ideas.”

Another person Henry highlighted was Granville Woods.  She said, “He was an inventor and held more than 60 patents.  Woods was the first African-American to be a mechanical and electrical engineer after the Civil War.” In 2006, Woods was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.  Henry said, “He was self-taught and one of his notable inventions was the Multiplex Telegraph, a device that sent messages between train stations and moving trains.”

Henry concluded, “Woods was self-taught and I am teaching myself to play the flute.  I know it doesn’t matter who you are, you can do what you want.”


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