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Black History Gallery hosts open house

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By Kelly Cantrall

History was highlighted Saturday at an annual open house of the Black History Gallery.

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The Elizabethtown gallery hosts open houses every year in recognition of Black History Month. This weekend, volunteers celebrated the unveiling of a stamp from the U.S. Postal Service that honors Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman in Congress and the first black presidential candidate.

Brenda Tucker and her sisters in the Delta Sigma Theta sorority have hosted open houses at the gallery in February for more than 20 years. It started as one of the sorority’s projects, but now they continue the mission in memory of Emma Reno Connor and her husband, Charles Connor, who founded the gallery.

Patricia King, a human resources specialist with the postal service, wanted to bring the stamp to the gallery.

“I thought it would be a great occasion to unveil the stamp and give it to them as a token of our appreciation,” King said.

Tucker said the gallery’s mission is important because it provides information on many historical figures beyond the very well-known. Students generally learn about Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks, but they might know less about Ida B. Wells, a black journalist and civil rights leader, and Benjamin Banneker, who helped survey the borders of the original District of Columbia. The gallery includes information on political and military figures, entertainers and athletes.

“This is information you aren’t going to find in the history books,” Tucker said.

Hazel Rogers visited the gallery Saturday with her friend, Delores Williams. This was Rogers’ first visit and she decided it was time to make the trip.

“I’ve had the pleasure of living through a lot of this,” Rogers said. But, she added, “some of this was a pleasure and some of it wasn’t.”

The gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekends in February and other days by appointment.

Kelly Cantrall can be reached at 270-505-1747 or kcantrall@thenewsenterprise.com.