Allen 50th Anniversary

Bishop Norris K. Allen 

Lovejoy Baptist Church will soon host an event that remembers the past, while also looking to the future.

“A Promise to Keep,” an academic scholarship program started by Bishop Norris Allen several years ago, aims to financially assist and mentor honor students in the local community through high school and into college.

“The students are expected to read books and report their academic progress through high school and college,” Allen said. “We rely on teachers and administrators for that information as well as the students themselves.”

Allen said the students are periodically selected and are almost always honor students.

“They can’t drop below a c-plus average,” Allen said. “Annual checks on student grades and academic progress are required in order to stay in the program.”

The program tries to accommodate up to 16 students at a time, according to Allen, who said a few students are replaced each year as their time in the program ends.

“In 2020, the first one will graduate from high school, then two the next year,” Allen said

This year’s event will be held Jan. 15 at 6 p.m. at Lovejoy Baptist Church, 436 Branham Ave., and will also look back at significant events in African-American history.

Allen, who has written several books and been active in the African-American community for decades, said the idea for helping students came from a conversation he had with his sister years ago and a promise he made to her to help with her education. Now he’s continuing that promise by helping young folks right here in Floyd County.

“I thank God for giving me the time to travel and represent the people of Rome in places like Selma and Washington D.C. at events,” Allen said.

With the 90th birthday of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the inauguration of President Barack Obama, there will be historic readings and even dramatic portrayals of significant events in black history.

This is the first time the event has been held since 2013, according to Allen.

Allen said the event will also honor people here in the community and said there will also be a presentation of historic photos and documents to organizations for posterity. A speaker will also be on hand from the King Center in Atlanta.

“We’ve got some history we’re going to turn over to the museum and library,” Allen said.

Doors open at 5 p.m. Ticket prices are $45 for adults and $35 for students and seniors, 62 and over. 

Blake Silvers is a member of the Rome News-Tribune editorial staff.