By Colin Foster
TROY — In 1865, there stood a one-room school house on the lot that would eventually turn into the Lincoln Community Center.
The center, officially established in 1924, has always provided a platform for African-Africans to succeed — which is why Black History Month means so much to those affiliated with it.
“The Lincoln Community Center is the mecca of black history for Troy,” said Shane Carter, executive director of the center. “There’s been so much captured in these walls.”
On Wednesday evening, the center was to hold a celebration for Abe Lincoln’s Birthday. Scheduled for the event was Alasiah Hale’s presentation on Ohio native Halle Berry, along with other youth presentations on African-American leaders, a youth Djembe drum circle performance, Ted Richardson’s poetry reading and Pam Baugham’s presentation on old negro spiritual songs, titled “Songs of Hope.”
Also included Wednesday was Carter’s overview of past influential African-Americans in the community, people such as Trenton Bell — a leader in the African-American community who was Troy’s first All-Ohio football selection in 1940 — S. Henry Lawton, director of the Lincoln Community Center from 1942-1962 who helped the center grow immensely, Dick Carnes, assistant director at the LCC during Lawton’s tenure and an All-Ohio football player, and Charles Sharrett — the LCC executive director from 1962-1971 who went on to become the director of the parks and rec department in Troy.
“Each one of those guys have been instrumental in terms of leadership to the community,” Carter said.
The Lincoln Community Center still has many upcoming events honoring black history in the month of February.
At 6 p.m. Feb. 22, the Lincoln Center will host “The Life of Frederick Douglass,” with keynote speaker KCarl Smith. Also featured at the event will be Abigail Pooe-Jordan, who will do a dance presentation titled “Go Light Your World.”
The LCC also will hold a community soul food tasting at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 28, which will include a jazz band performance. On March 9, there will be a musical presentation by the Diane Coble & Ensemble at 4 p.m.
The center’s hope for this month is to demonstrate the importance of poetry, music and arts in African-American history, Carter said.
For more information, call the Lincoln Community Center at (937) 335-2715.
Colin Foster may be reached at 937-440-5208 or followed on Twitter @colinfosterbg or @Troydailynews