Triton wraps up history festivities
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle was the keynote speaker at the closing ceremony of this year's Black History Month celebration at Triton College. | Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 8, 2013 6:36AM
RIVER GROVE — Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle was the featured speaker at the closing ceremony for Black History Month activities at Triton College.
‘A Past of Dignity, A Future of Hope’ was the theme for this year’s Black History Month activities at the school, organized by members of the college’s Black Heritage Council.
In her speech, delivered Feb. 28 in the college’s student center, Preckwinkle used the story of Rosa Parks to remind the audience of the strides African-Americans have made over the years through tremendous sacrifice.
Parks sparked a bus boycott in Montgomery, Ala. through an act of defiance. She refused to give up her seat when the bus driver ordered her to surrender it to a white male passenger.
But as Preckwinle noted, Parks was more than the quiet seamstress some may have thought, as a little research into her life reveals.
Years before her refusal to give up her seat, she had fought for the simple right to cast a ballot. She had made several attempts to be allowed to vote, but could not pass the required test (a practice later found to be racially discriminatory).
Parks took the test twice and failed, but on her third attempt she passed by memorizing it.
“She was a long-time activist,” Preckwinkle said.
Parks showed discipline and principles, Preckwinkle said, adding that there are still problems within the African-American community that need people with these kinds of values in order for them to be corrected.
It starts, she said, with the youth.
“We have to have hope and confidence in our young people,” she told the crowd.
The rest last week’s program was filled with songs, poetry and testimony from members of the Black Heritage Council. And many of them touched on themes similar to Preckwinkle’s, encouraging African-Americans in the audience to continue studying their history well after Black History Month has ended.
It ended with members of the audience joining hands to sing “We Shall Overcome.”
Crystal Loggins, a member of Black Heritage Council, was pleased with how the event turned out.
“It went very well,” she said. “Preckwinkle coming out was the highlight of the event.”