Mayor Perkins speaks at Lighthouse program

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 2, 2004

The residents of Lighthouse Convalescent Home received a visit from Mayor James Perkins, Jr. last week as part of a month-long program to honor black leaders throughout history.

Armelia Oliver, Lighthouse administrator, said the visit from Perkins was the “climax” of the nursing home’s Black History Month program.

“We held this program every Friday throughout February,” Oliver said. “Outside speakers were invited to come and we talked about different black leaders.”

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Oliver said the residents heard about a new topic every week.

Lighthouse staff asked Perkins to be a part of their program because of his unique distinction of being Selma’s first black mayor.

In his short speech to the residents, the mayor reminisced about lessons his elder relatives taught him and how much he appreciated their guidance.

Perkins said he had a desire to see younger generations carry on the work of those who came before them.

“The world that you helped carve into shape for me, I will work to make sure it’s better for my children and their children,” Perkins told the residents. “So your work will not be in vain.”

Perkins’ statement drew applause from some of the residents.

Oliver, while not endorsing the mayor, reminded the residents about the importance of using their right to vote.

“We want you to know that no one has taken away your right to vote,” Oliver said. “We want you to continue using your vote.”

Throughout the rest of the program, Lighthouse staff, lead by resident Ernestine Rose on piano, sang a number of gospel tunes for the other seniors.

Some of the participants sang along, while the rest tapped their feet to the rhythm.

Oliver said she and her staff try to coordinate some type of event for Black History Month every year.

“The residents seem to really enjoy it,” she said.

The Lighthouse residents were then treated to a large soul food lunch as a way to celebrate the end of Black History Month.