Leaders: Its important to know your past

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 5, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.

Civil rights leaders at polar ends of the philosophical spectrum, they&8217;re often named as the national heroes of today&8217;s black leaders.

But Darryl Grennell, Adams County&8217;s supervisors president and a microbiology professor at Alcorn State University, doesn&8217;t want to forget black leaders in science and politics some might overlook.

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When asked who his black role models are on the national level, Grennell quickly named four:

4Charles Drew, an innovator in preserving blood plasma.

4George Washington Carver, the inventor who devoted his whole life to agricultural research.

4W.E.B. DuBois, sociologist, author, civil rights leader and the first black person to receive a doctorate from Harvard University.

4Abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass.

&8220;They were so creative, so brilliant at what they did,&8221; Grennell said.

But he was nearly as quick to name local black role models: the Rev. R.L. Stanton, political leader Barney Schoby and Judge Mary Lee Toles.

&8220;They&8217;re great, fair-minded people,&8221; Grennell said.

But fellow Adams County Supervisor Thomas &8220;Boo&8221; Campbell did mention King on the national level &8212; although he had to be perfectly honest.

&8220;Dr. King to a lesser extent, because I never believed in nonviolence, to be perfectly honest,&8221; Campbell said, recalling the days in which he and his contemporaries participated in the civil rights movement in the Natchez area.

Locally, Campbell named Charles Evers as one of his black role models because he was a catalyst for change in Adams County.

&8220;Before he came to Adams County, there was no integration. That&8217;s the truth. He united blacks together to seek integration so we could go anywhere we wanted, go in and eat anywhere he wanted, apply for any job we wanted.&8221;

Those born in the late 1960s and 1970s and now coming into power don&8217;t remember and may not appreciate the gains won by Evers and others like him and by Campbell and his contemporaries, he said.

&8220;It&8217;s important to know you&8217;re history,&8221; Campbell said.