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Message of faith, determination defines NCC’s Black History Month

Gospel group Unity One performs a soulful rendition of "He Knows My Name"

This Far by Faith: Spirituality and The Civil Rights Movement was the theme for Black History Month this year…and it’s a theme that has a message.

“I think it’s a very powerful statement because you think about everything that black people, as a whole, and what everyone has been through,” said Criminal Justice major Erin Barclay, who was also one of the performers at the lecture.

“We’ve made it this far by that little thing called faith,” she said.

Faces of the Dream was last year’s theme. Most of the events last year took place in the student life zone where students were asked to say a few things about Civil Rights Movement leader Martin Luther King Jr.

NCC student Jazmin Sanchez performs the August Wilson play "Fences"
NCC student Jazmin Sanchez performs the August Wilson play “Fences”

However, for the theme this year “I wanted to explore the role of faith, the church and the Civil Rights Movement because it was an intricate part of the movement,” said NCC Librarian Audrey Harvey who is also the co-chairperson for the Black History Month Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee.

This Far by Faith is the title of a song not only sung by Barclay but also sung during the Civil Rights marches and meetings of that time. Harvey said that because of this she wanted to incorporate the song within the theme.

Dr. Marcia Theadford, a co-pastor at the Agape Christian Center in Easton, was the keynote speaker who delivered the lecture of the theme’s profound meaning to students, faculty and staff on Feb.1 in the Lipkin Theatre.

Theadford dissected the content of the theme so the audience could better comprehend its meaning.

“This far, implies that a specific time has passed and a certain thing has happened to this point. Faith was cement that united a nation of people and help stand against the culture of a day,” said Theadford, a former employee of NCC who worked in the counseling department.

Gospel group Unity One performs a soulful rendition of "He Knows My Name"
Gospel group Unity One performs a soulful rendition of “He Knows My Name”

According to Theadford the historical leaders who helped build a strong foundation included Rosa Parks, Feddrick Douglass, George Washington Carver as well as others.

“They gave voice to the voiceless,” said Theadford. “They were the very essence of the Civil Rights Movement,” she said.

According to the speech given by Theadford, there evidently has been change since the times of Rosa Parks and George Washington Carver.

“If you truly admit, there has been a transformational change in our society. We now have an African American president who was elected two times. We have definitely come this far by faith.”

“We must acknowledge that transformation is still occurring,” she said. “You have to continue to celebrate the milestones.”

Joseph Odhiambo, an attendee of the lecture said he felt that Theadford had a prevalent message to share.

“I was spiritually lifted. We’ve gone through those [hardships] by believing in something,” he said.

Harvey said what she hopes students walked away with is a sense of determination.

“My hope was that students would see that sometimes you have to go forward even when you can’t see what the outcomes are going to be. Also, how much the people, of that time, had to believe in something that they couldn’t see. You hope for a good outcome but you’re really standing out on faith,” she said.

Unity One
Unity One

“With faith you can move mountains. So, it means a lot to me, that little phrase,” said Barclay, who sang alongside other performers which included the singing group Unity One, dancers Acta Non Verba, NCC poetry and prose winner Daylan Hillyer and students Ivan Cruz and Jazmin Sanchez from the Theatre Department.