Up & Coming Weekly

March 10, 2020

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

Issue link: http://www.epageflip.net/i/1220016

Contents of this Issue


Page 23 of 32

WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM MARCH 11-17, 2020 UCW 23 Hope Mills News & Views Dr. Kenjuana McCray made history when she became the first African-American woman elect- ed to the Hope Mills Board of Commissioners last November. But it was a page from national history that helped inspire her to run for office, and make a promise to herself to keep that history alive in her own memories. Recently McCray made her second consecu- tive trip to Selma, Alabama, to revisit some of the most prominent sites connected with the American Civil Rights movement and the pas- sage of the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act. The act, which was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson, prohibited racial discrimina- tion in voting. The event McCray participated in is called the Bridge Crossing Jubilee. It marked the 55th anniversary of Civil Rights marchers crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge during a march in sup- port of voting rights in 1965. During that cross- ing, now referred to as "Bloody Sunday," many of the marchers were brutally beaten by law enforcement officers. McCray not only visited the bridge, but also museums and other historic sites in the Selma, Tuskegee and Montgomery, Alabama, areas dur- ing her visit. She was most moved by the personal accounts of people who were invited back to speak who took part in the marches 55 years ago. "They bring in people that were foot soldiers in the movement,'' McCray said. "You get to hear one-on-one stories about actual events that happened, things you don't read in the history books.'' She also attended a special event at Tabernacle Baptist Church in Selma, the site of a famous meeting held by the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to conduct a planning session for the 1965 march. McCray said that after she attended the confer- ence for the first time in 2019, she made up her mind to again run for public office in Hope Mills. "It was one of the things that helped me make my decision I was going to run again,'' she said. She noted that people of different races were involved in that march 55 years ago, and that people of dif- ferent races lost their lives in the struggle for civil rights in this country. "I have to continue to advocate for people to exercise their right to vote and how powerful that vote is,'' McCray said. "It's something I will con- tinue to advocate while I'm in office and when I'm not in office. This trip helps remind me and puts everything into perspective.'' One important lesson she has learned from her visits to the Selma area is the power of people working together for a common cause. She noted names like King and Congressman John Lewis, along with many others who were at the forefront of the Civil Rights movement. "It was a collective group of people who helped do this,'' she said. "It's that whole idea of the power of what you can do if you work together and do things together. "There were a lot of people who worked together to make this thing happen.'' McCray recognizes Civil Rights history in Selma by EARL VAUGHAN JR. NEWS McCray recently participated in the Bridge Crossing Jubilee in Selma, Alabama. Gray's Creek's Schwamm National Merit finalist by EARL VAUGHAN JR. Gray's Creek High School senior Theodore Schwamm recently joined an elite group of high school students in the United States. He's one of 15,000 national finalists for the elite National Merit scholarship. Shana Matthews, who coun- sels the academically and intel- lectually gifted students at the schools, said Schwamm is the first National Merit finalist from Gray's Creek in her four years at the school. "The scholarship is a nice incentive, a nice bonus, for someone like Theodore who has put in a lot of effort and devoted a lot of time,'' Matthews said. A Fayetteville native, Schwamm said his pri- mary interests are vocal music and theater. He plays the piano and is also a handbell player in his church choir. Even if he's not ultimately named a winner in the National Merit competition, just being a final- ist makes him a potential candidate for other col- lege scholarship offers. Schwamm said a num- ber of colleges have already offered him full scholarships, but he's currently not con- sidering those because they are from schools he doesn't consider a good fit for his interests. He's officially applied to four colleges. They include his top two picks, Williams in Massachusetts and Kenyon in Ohio. Others he has applied to are Roanoke in Virginia and the University of Chicago. Of the four, he's already been accepted at Roanoke and is expecting word back soon from the other three. Schwamm said the main draw for him at all four schools was their liberal arts atmosphere and the flexibility and interdisciplinary approach they take to education. As far as what he plans to study is concerned, Schwamm isn't sure if he'll continue with music and theater or turn his attention to physics and math- ematics. "I may combine them in some way,'' he said. He's interested in the connection between the arts and sciences and why they have so much in common. "Einstein would often say he'd play the violin while working through physics problems,'' Schwamm said. "A lot of scientists say if they were not professional scientists, they would be artists.'' Schwamm is currently involved with the Gray's Creek High School production of the Broadway musical "Newsies." Performances are scheduled March 20-21 at 7 p.m., with a matinee on March 22 at 4 p.m. Admission is $10. In recent years, Schwamm has changed his phi- losophy about his education and realizes balance is an important part of the process. "Certainly I could spend time endlessly looking at calculus problems,'' he said. "There comes a time you need to recognize moving away from it and doing something else will ultimately be more valuable.'' Toward that end, he plans to spend his final summer before college at home with family. "I plan to sleep without an alarm many days and do a lot of reading,'' he said. Theodore Schwamm

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Up & Coming Weekly - March 10, 2020