In Observance of Black History Month
Dr. Gerald Taylor
CLU, CHFC, CAMS, CCBCO
Every February, the nation celebrates the achievements and history of African Americans as part of Black History Month. This month gives everyone the opportunity to reflect on ways to continue addressing social injustices and ending all forms of racism. Also, this is a time that the community can draw inspiration and guidance from the past.
With this unique opportunity, it is an honor to highlight the life of two influential African Americans that were family members. Mr. Harold Howard and Pastor Willie R. Bond impacted the community through their careers. Both individuals made contributions and sacrifices to improve the lives of everyone.
Mr. Howard, my uncle, impacted the community through acts of service. He was the principal at Hale school and owned a barbershop in Huntingdon. He also had the honor of serving the community by being elected to the Huntingdon Town Council. His community service earned him Huntingdon’s Outstanding Citizen Award in 1997. Thus, Mr. Howard contributed significantly to Carroll County by providing education and serving the community in various ways that impacted the minority community.
Pastor Bonds, my grandfather, lead people with his deep faith in Jesus Christ. He was the head pastor of the 2nd Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Huntingdon, TN. Also, Pastor Bond served time as the principal at Trenton High School. He was also a proud member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and served as the President of the West TN chapters. Pastor Bond graduated with honors from Lane College and later served on Lane College’s board. He served as the President of the local NAACP chapter. Thus, Pastor Bond’s significant contributions to the community occurred through education and ministry work.
Education and faith are principles Mr. Howard and Pastor Bonds instilled in me from a very young age. They both believed that education was how African Americans could change the narrative that Black people were intellectually inferior. They both believed in the Dr. Martin Luther King blueprint described in his 1967 speech. In a 1967 speech, Dr. Martin Luther King stated that the most meaningful step in an individual’s life’s blueprint should be a deep belief in dignity and self-worth. People should not allow anyone to make them feel that they are nobody. Individuals should always feel that they count. Individuals should always feel that they have worth and that their life has ultimate significance. Secondly, in everyone’s life’s blueprint, everyone must be determined to achieve excellence in their various fields of endeavor as the basic principle.
My uncle and grandfather were guided by faith and led with enormous courage. Thirty-plus years after their deaths, people in the community still discuss the contributions these two exceptional human beings made to their lives. In closing, my purpose is to contribute to the community with the same principles that guided my uncle and grandfather.