HCC SALUTES LOCAL AFRICAN-AMERICAN HEROES
|Honorees include, front from
left, Margaret Deloatch accepting on behalf of
Dr. Willis McLeod, Judge Alma Hinton, Michele
Spruill; second row, Anitra Collins, Dock Brown,
Judge Brenda Branch; third row, Sheriff Ellis
Squire, Judge Alfred Kwasikpui, Chief Mark
Macon; fourth row, Cleopas Mason Jr., Dr.
Stanley Edwards; top right, Dr. Ervin V. Griffin
Sr. with guest, Seaboard Mayor Melvin Broadnax.
Not pictured: James Pierce.
More event photos are here
There was much anticipation on campus as
Halifax Community College held its first ever “Saluting Our
Local African-American Heroes” celebration. Special honors
were bestowed on several community leaders during the
Tuesday night ceremony held at The Centre.
Anitra Collins, the first African-American Vice-President of
Mill Operations at KapStone Kraft Paper & Packaging
Corporation, made comments that were echoed by other
“You don't know how much it means to be recognized by the
folks that live with you and work with you everyday. … I
like the saying that says, ‘You don't stand on solid ground.
You stand on the shoulders of many, many people that have
made it possible for you to be where you are today.' I count
you in that number of folks that have supported me in so
many ways,” said Collins. “Thank you for letting me stand on
Special recognition was given to Dock Brown and Dr. Stanley
Edwards in the form of lifetime service awards.
Dock M. Brown is a graduate of Shaw University and North
Carolina Central University. A retired teacher and
principal, Brown is also an Army veteran of the Korean War.
His community service is unparalleled. He has served as a
county commissioner in Halifax County, as a member of the
North Carolina House of Representatives, District 7, as a
trustee at Elizabeth City State University, and as an
appointee to the Governor's Commission to evaluate superior
Earning the highest civilian honor the state has to offer,
Brown was awarded North Carolina's Order of the Long Leaf
Pine by Governor James B. Hunt, Jr. In May 2007, the Weldon
Town Commissioner was presented a plaque by U.S. Congressman
G.K. Butterfield. As a culminating honor, in December 2007,
the North Carolina House approved legislation naming
Weldon's post office in honor of him for his service and
dedication to the community.
“God has really let me live long enough … to see some real
progress in this county,” said Brown. “I am really blessed.
I don't know anything in my life, that if I had to live over
again, that I would do differently.”
Dr. Stanley M. Edwards is currently the chairman of the
Halifax Community College Board of Trustees. An educator,
Edwards is the retired assistant superintendent of Halifax
County Schools. During his tenure, he also served as
Director of Programs for Exceptional Children and Student
Services, principal, and teacher. Edwards holds degrees from
Livingstone College, A&T State University, North Carolina
Central University, and Nova Southeastern University.
A believer in strong community involvement, Edwards is also
vice-chairman for the Weldon City Board of Education. He is
a member and financial secretary for the Weldon First
Baptist Church Board of Deacons, a member of the Weldon Day
Care Center Board of Directors, and financial secretary for
the Weldon-Halifax Community Center Board of Directors.
Remaining active in the Roanoke Valley and at HCC, Edwards
is also a former member of the Halifax Department of Social
Services' Board of Directors.
“I do thank you for this award,” said Edwards. “I can't
follow in the steps of Dock Brown. He is one of my role
models and I've known Dock for a long time. …With deep
appreciation, thank you so much for this honor.”
Other honorees included:
Michele Spruill, first
African-American Clerk of Superior Court in Northampton
Ellis Squire, first
African-American Sheriff in Northampton County
Judge Alma Hinton, first
African-American Senior Resident Superior Court Judge in
James Pierce, first
African-American Chair of the Halifax County Board of
Judge Alfred Kwasikpui,
first African-American Chief District Court
Dr. Willis McLeod, first
African-American Superintendent of Northampton County
Dr. Ervin V. Griffin,
Sr., first African-American President of HCC
Chief Mark Macon, first
African-American Chief of Police for the town of Weldon
Judge Brenda Branch,
first African-American District Court Judge for Halifax
County Judicial Court 6A
Cleopas L. Mason, Jr., president of the
Wilson V. Eagleson Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.
talked about the history of the Tuskegee Airmen, from their
beginnings to the significance they had on history. The
Tuskegee Airmen consisted of a group of African-American
pilots who flew with distinction during World War II as the
332nd Fighter Group of the U.S. Army Air Corps. Although the
program was meant to fail, according to Mason, the Tuskegee
Airmen have the honor of being the only group to not lose
any aircraft to enemy fighters during the war.
“Many of you have said that you are not heroes, but to me
and to us you are heroes,” said Dr. Edwards in closing
remarks. “You are very worthy. It's not just by happenstance
that you are here tonight. You have persevered, you've made
sacrifices and preparations, and when the opportunities
came, you stepped into those opportunities and for that we
thank you and appreciate you. You have paved the way for
many people and you might not realize it.”