The first person the Lake Hawks have chosen to honor for Black History Month is Ruby Bridges. Ruby was the first black child to attend an all-white school after desegregation in the south. Her courageous act paved the way for children across southern states to enroll at originally segregated schools. She was met with opposition and required a federal escort, but still managed to spark the final wave of racial integration leading to desegregated schools.
Today Ruby is still an activist for racial equality. In 1999 she established the Ruby Bridges foundation which promotes the values of tolerance, respect, and appreciation of all differences. She chairs the foundation today and uses education to teach about racial inequality.
Next, we celebrate Willie German Jr. in honor of Black History Month. Willie was born and raised in Muskegon and has dedicated his career to educating and leading the youth of Muskegon. He currently works at Muskegon Community College as the Library Information Media-Tech Supervisor while also serving as the Muskegon City Commissioner.
Willie has served on multiple boards and committees overseeing the development and safety of our youth in Muskegon. However, his work doesn’t stop at youth education. He also works hard to empower black student groups as well as fight for equal employment opportunities throughout the city.
We thank Willie for his lifelong commitment to our community. We know his work has inspired many others to care for this city the same way Willie has
Jon Covington is a West Michigan native who has spent his life traveling all over the world to learn about culture, politics, and people. He is the President/CEO of The Jon Covington Group, which creates media in radio, television, and film. He also founded the Men of Color Read program in Muskegon county to increase literacy in urban areas. Jon has worked on films with award-winning actors/actresses and directors. He has interviewed some of the world's most famous individuals. He has even been the moderator of some political debates. After all of these accomplishments, Jon recently was the 2019 recipient of the Charles H. Hackley Commendation for Service to the Humanities Award in Michigan for the incredible contributions he made to the humanities and arts.
Jon may be known most for his recent cinematic film “Black Man”. This film looks through the eyes of various black men living in West Michigan to see what they experience and how their experience differs from what movies and television show us.
We honor Jon for his great work done in West Michigan. We support and follow him as a community leader.
Dr. James Jackson was a physician and civil rights activist who spent much of his life in Muskegon. He is most well known for co-founding the James Jackson Museum of African American History located in Muskegon Heights. Jackson was born in Massachusetts and attended Wayne State University in Detroit. After college and medical school, James moved to Muskegon with his family to start their lives. When he and his family arrived in Muskegon, they found segregation and economic equality all over the area. He began using his activism to give people of color a chance. He even ran for office. This was said to feel revolutionary at the time because seeing a black man on the ballot was the first political representation for black people in the area.
We honor Dr. James Jackson for his lifelong commitment to our Muskegon community and all the people of color in the area. His founding of and contributions to the Museum of African American History are both great feats that will stand the test of time. Jackson spent the end of his life trying to create a place where black people in Muskegon and all over the world could come and learn about their culture. We hope to see activists in Muskegon like James Jackson in the future.