Students at Anna K. Davie Elementary School dressed in their Sunday best Wednesday to hear from black history makers in Rome in celebration of Black History Month.

The students, who are part of the Distinguished Gentlemen and Diamonds and Pearls groups, heard black school board members, lawyers and city commissioners speak about their time growing up in Rome and how they got to where they are today.

“I never let anybody tell me I couldn’t do anything I wanted,” Rome school board member Alvin Jackson said to the students.

Jackson, who attended RCS during the time of segregation, is a founding member of 100 Black Men of Rome-Northwest Georgia. He was also part of the group that convinced the Rome City Commission to make Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a local holiday.

“That’s part of their history and their legacy. It’s hard to know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been,” Jackson said.

Another city school board member, Elaina Beeman, is an alumna of Anna K. Davie Elementary. She recalled back when the school didn’t have a gym, and she ended up being behind in her lessons because the school at the time didn’t have the best books.

“Sometimes I had to get with people that knew more than me,” she said. “Education is the key out of poverty.”

Along with serving on the school board, Beeman also cited her successes of being part of the Northwest Georgia Housing Authority and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

Desmond Johnson, a Rome High School graduate who just graduated from Kennesaw State University, also spoke to the kids about making the right choices.

“It gives them a role model to look at,” he said. “It’s about telling them that if I can do it, they can do it, too.”

The program was organized by Anna K. Davie’s behavior specialist Charles Smith. He is also involved with Distinguished Gentlemen of Rome, a group of elementary school boys who are being mentored by professional men. He said this is the second year they’ve done this Black History Month program.

“The goal of this was to bring black leaders that have grown up here and went to this school and went on to be successful,” he said. “We had two lawyers here today that went to this school. I hope they took away inspiration and hope today. You just hope it builds something in them and (they) carry it on.”

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