Black History Gala to honor more than a dozen

More than a dozen people will be honored Saturday, Feb. 25, during the third annual Black History Gala at the Dothan Country Club.

The event explores how African Americans have resisted historic and ongoing oppression, and those who are continuing to make history.

The gala is sponsored by the Mike Schmitz Foundation and hosted by Schmitz and Dothan Municipal Court Judge Rose Evans-Gordon. The ticket event raises money for nonprofits in the community.

The red carpet and cocktail festivities begin at 5 p.m. and the dinner and dance commence at 6 p.m. General admission is $75 and the VIP experience is $100.

Nine people ranging in age from 84 to 100 are being honored in the Black Resistance category. They include Gussie Gibson, Gussie Allen, Thaomia Hilliard, Annie Ruth Weatherington, Fannie Huff, Gary Griffin, Pete Afford, Ramona Cleveland, and Mary Ethel Williams.

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Five individuals being cited for representing Black Excellence include Darryl Elliott, Virgil Byrd, Ira Hall, Valerie Russell, and Izell Reese.

Below is a rundown of those being honored this year:

Gussie GibsonA native of Montgomery County, Mrs. Gussie Gibson, 100, is the oldest of four girls born to Jimmy Lee and Sally Lampley. The family moved to Hartford and later to Dothan, where it resided in a close-knit community called Southside.

Gussie attended school through the ninth grade in Hartford, but when she moved to Dothan she quit to start working. She nursed children and did domestic work, and was hired at the Akwell factory, where she worked 16 years before retiring.

Along the way she resumed her schooling, attending adult classes at Carver High School on Lake Street.

She was married to Johnny Gibson for 55 years. They have two daughters, Janice and Johnnie Mae.

The Southside community was uprooted

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