Caprecia Franklin

“My two black history figures are Martin Luther King and Jesse Owens. I admire Dr. King because he let the world know that peace and equality could be acquired through nonviolence. I also picked Jesse Owens because he paved the way for African Americans in the field of track and in the Olympics. I’m interested in track so he paved the way for me.”

Ifeanfy Odum

“Malcolm X. To me, Malcolm X was a symbol of a rock that could not be broken. He stood for what he believed in – any means necessary. Next would be rapper Tupac Shakur. Tupac showed me the potential that music has on the world and what it can do to people, like how we can make a difference. I believe, personally, that music will bridge the gap of the nation.”

Jeremiah Brown

“The first is Martin Luther King because he really stood out from everyone else. He really pushed himself to get his message and dream out to all black people. He stood for nonviolence even when violence was against him [and] never retaliated. My second person is Harriet Tubman because of what she did for the slaves with the underground railroad.”

David Houston

“I admire Dr. Martin Luther King, Mr. Paul Adams, [president] of Providence St. Mel School, and my grandfather, Howard Sandifer. I picked Martin Luther King because he paved the way for all that African Americans can do now. Paul Adams, because of what I’ve read so far. The kids who attend St. Mel go to college, and I’m glad that opportunity is given to the African-American people. And I picked my grandfather because we have a lot in common, and he always helps me whenever I need help.”

Corey Mathis

“The black history person I admire the most would be Thomas A. Dorsey, a black person that brought gospel music to us. He also brought the organ to gospel music. Mr. Dorsey is known as the ‘Father of Gospel Music’. He paved the way for what is going on right now in gospel music. My second is Rev. Milton Brunson, the founder of the Thompson Community Singers.”

Zechary Stigger

“The two figures I admire the most would be James Weldon Johnson because he was a really great arranger of music, and Moses Hogan, another great music arranger. He was arranger of gospel music and, unfortunately, died young in 2003.

n James Weldon Johnson, and his brother, John Rosamond, wrote “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

n In 1948, the Rev. Milton Brunson organized a mass gospel choir at Chicago’s McKinley High School, calling them The Thompson Community Singers. They were also known as “The Tommies.”