February is Black History Month, and one local church in Pleasantville celebrated African American heritage through song, dance, and faith.
Since 1976, February has been Black History Month in the United States, and in Pleasantville, members of the Salem United Methodist Church celebrated black history on Saturday afternoon.
Miss Pleasantville and LaSalle University graduate student, Cierra Farquharson, said, "We can come together as a community and we can celebrate our history - past, present, and future."
Members of the congregation performed poetry, danced, and sang during the celebration, which was followed by a soul food dinner.
The pastor of Salem United Methodist wanted to focus on keeping black history current. Reverend Blessings Magomero said, "What I focused on this afternoon is more about how can we take the black history of the past to the future." Reverend Magomero said that education is the key to empowering young African Americans, and that young people can build another history that will impact future generations. He explained, "Education, for me, it empowered me. It gave me some sort of destiny and also gave me an identity."
Students and parents in attendance agreed that education can empower Pleasantville's youth to make their own black history.
A mother, Dawn Rice Bivens, said, "Education, I believe, is paramount. I believe that the foundations really begin in elementary school and that they should be continued through middle school, high school, and no longer is a high school diploma what you need. You need to seek a college education as well."
Trey Henry, a student at Alder Avenue Middle School, told NBC40, "I really like to learn about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and what Barack Obama does for our lives."
Local business owners also spoke about African American businesses in the area and gave advice to members of the service.
"I would like to see our people rise," concluded Cierra Farquharson.