Mayor speaks at Black History Luncheon

COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- Columbus Mayor Robert Smith was the keynote speaker during the annual Black History Luncheon Feb. 23 at the Columbus Club.
The luncheon was attended by more than 150 BLAZE Team members and people from the local community.
During the luncheon, an African dance was performed by Kayla Gilmore, as well as the introduction of African-American figures from the local area. Aberdeen Police Chief Walter Sykes, Columbus Police Chief Joe Johnson, Aberdeen Fire Chief Frank Gladney and Columbus Municipal Court Judge Curtis Austin were among these figures that were present at the luncheon.
"Growing up this time of year always gave me a sense of self, sense of pride, and a sense of understanding of who I am and who I have become," said Mayor Smith.
The CAFB African-American Heritage Committee chose Mayor Smith to speak at the luncheon because of his ties to the base and because he is the first African-American mayor of Columbus, Miss. Mayor Smith also has 31 years experience as an educator, administrator and coach.
Mayor Smith believes that Black History Month "should be remembered and celebrated by more then just one section of American's population. African-American history is America's history."
BLAZE Team members from different races and ethnicities were present at this event, showing the diversity of Columbus AFB and the support of all of the BLAZE Team.