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Recognizing the contributions of black Americans

By Staff
Feb. 18, 2001
One of The Meridian Star's most rewarding roles in our community comes through the Newspaper in Education program. Through this effort, newspapers are made a part of classroom instruction for elementary through high school students with the hope that we can focus attention on issues of the day, the nature of news reporting and the value of information in our information-driven society.
Many of our readers see the news quiz, which is presented as part of the NIE effort. In order to successfully complete the quiz, you must have read and recalled recent news stories. It is a good academic exercise and we encourage you to take advantage of this feature in your newspaper.
We believe the daily newspaper actually goes beyond a mere recount of the day's news. The information contained within these pages certainly informs. It can also educate.
Starting tomorrow and running through Thursday, The Star presents a special page each day on "A Celebration of Black History." This comes during the month of February, which is recognized nationally as Black History Month.
With historical materials, biographical sketches of great African-Americans and an outline of their accomplishments and academic activities for students, we hope these pages are good educational tools.
We also hope they help spotlight some little known facts that are helpful in exploring the contributions of Mississippians to the overall cause of black history.
The lives and careers of native Mississippians such as Morgan Freeman, Oprah Winfrey, William Raspberry, James Earl Jones and Leotyne Price are already well known.
Did you also know:
The first African-American in the U.S. Senate was a Mississippian Hiram R. Revels, who took his seat on Feb. 25,1870 and served a year.
The first African-American to serve a full six-year term in the U.S. Senate was Blanche Kelso Bruce, a Mississippian who took his seat on March 3, 1870. Not until 1969 did another black American begin a Senate term.
The broadcasting world changed with the innovative interviewing style of Tavis Smiley, born in Gulfport in 1964. After working with Tom Joyner, Smiley started his own show on BET called "BET Tonight with Tavis Smiley." His live show has gained tremendous success with comment on topics ranging from politics to rap music.
It is appropriate to note the outstanding accomplishments of black Americans in music, literature, the performing arts, politics, sports and so many other walks of life. The Meridian Star is pleased to recognize these contributions to the quality of American life, and the important role played in it by Mississippians.