“Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.”—Exodus 20:12
FORT WAYNE—While others debate the placement of monuments to participants in some of the city’s bloodiest history, one local spiritual and civil rights leader wants the community to focus their attention on a more positive aspect of history—the story of those who helped usher in positive change and institutions, particularly in the central city.
The Rev. Michael Latham said he is seeking the help of the Fort Wayne community in uncovering the history of local black Americans “who have worked tirelessly to better our community and to share this history and information.”
Latham said it isn’t just personal curiosity that is driving him. For some time now, he said he has been on a mission to establish a permanent tribute to those “founders” through the establishment of a local African American Historical District and African American Heritage Trail. The Rev. Latham is asking the public’s help in identifying individuals and sites that would be appropriate for inclusion in such an historic district.
“I understand just how significant it is for a race of people to understand their history and how that history impacts us still, to this day,” he explained. “While much of Black America’s history is underlined by the deplorable characteristics of slavery and Jim Crow, we must as a city and a nation seek to resurrect those instances of individual achievement, whether on a personal note or on a professional level, that have worked to break down barriers, eliminate stereotypes and dismantle injustice. And, we as a city and as a nation must be willing to embrace our differences, even in embracing our historical differences, with a certain clarity that implements advancement and betterment for the entire human race, That is all of what the African American Historical District project seeks to accomplish and we welcome any and all to participate in this noteworthy endeavor.”
The Rev. Latham asks that persons interested to submit their suggestions to the history behind their choices to him by mail at 5515 S. Hanna St., or by email at RenaissanceBCFW@yahoo.com. Or, call him at (260) 466-5542.