Local residents inducted into Ellis County African American Hall of Fame

dfwnewsa | November 14, 2022 | 0 | Midlothian , Waxahachie News

Chris Roark, croark@cherryroad.com

Ten former and current members of the community were inducted Ellis County African American Hall of Fame on Saturday for their work and accomplishments around the county.

The third annual induction ceremony took place at First United Methodist Church and was organized by the Ellis County African American Hall of Fame Museum and Library and its founder/director/CEO Jamal Rasheed. The master of ceremonies was Hasaan Rasheed, an actor in the movie “Black Panther.”

Among the honorees was State Rep. Carl O. Sherman, who was also the keynote speaker. Sherman, who serves in District 109, is also on the House Committees for Appropriations and Corrections. He has served on the Texas Commission on Judicial Selection and the Texas Legislative Black Caucus.

Before that he was DeSoto’s first African American mayor, where he led a charge to increase economic development in the city and to secure funds to ensure every resident had access to affordable housing and safe neighborhoods.

He has also served as city manager for Ferris and Hutchins, as well as on the board of directors for the North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA). He was also chairman of the Best Southwest Chamber of Commerce, which includes associates cities Red Oak, Ovilla, Glenn Heights, Ferris and Midlothian.

“This is special because Dr. Rasheed is a thoughtful and intelligent leader,” Sherman said. “So to be honored with this means a lot.”

Sherman said ceremonies like these are important to highlight the accomplishments of African Americans in and around Ellis County.

“Knowing our history it’s so important that we acknowledge the sacrifices of others,” Sherman said. “And this does that. We have to have these things to get recognized for our dedication to make change and to make things better.”

Other honorees from government roles were Eric Smith, the first African American city councilman and mayor pro tem of Red Oak; Shirley Watson, commissioner for Ward 4 in the city of Ennis; and the late Frank Jackson, the former mayor of Italy.

Local residents inducted into Ellis County African American Hall of Fame 2
Red Oak ISD Trustee Michelle Porter is honored with a medal as part of her induction into the Ellis County African American Hall of Fame. (Chris Roark/staff photo)

Those honored in the realm of education included Michelle Porter, the first African American member of the Red Oak ISD Board of Trustees. She was first elected in November of 2020.

“I’m blessed, honored and proud to be inducted,” Porter said. “This is a good starting point so people will know about our accomplishments. This shines a light on the different areas where African Americans have contributed.”

Others inducted were Don C. Edwards, Jr., a coach, teacher and deacon in Waxahachie, and the late Melvin H. Hunter, Jr., an assistant principal and coach in Ennis.

Waxahachie’s John Montgomery was honored for his humanitarian efforts, which have included helping maintain the Prince Hall Fraternal Cemetery in Waxahachie. Waxahachie’s Stan Johnson was inducted for his musical success in the Stan Johnson Band. And Jesse Gibson was honored for his success as a business owner in Waxahachie.

“This is a tremendous honor,” Gibson said. “I grew up here and spent many years away. But my goal was to come back home. I’ve been involved in the community, and I’m happy to be recognized.”

The mission of the Ellis County African American Museum and Library is to create an avenue to educate the youth and build a bridge of understanding between the world and Ellis County, as well as to recognize the contributions made by African Americans in Ellis County.

The post Local residents inducted into Ellis County African American Hall of Fame appeared first on Waxahachie Daily Light.

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