Rep. Pittman to host bipartisan Lincoln Legacy Dinner, OCU's Robert Henry to speak
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Published: 25-Jan-2014

OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Anastasia A. Pittman, Chair of the Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus, will organize and lead a celebration to mark Black History Month next month at the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City.

February is Black History Month across the United States. Pittman encouraged readers of The City Sentinel to consider becoming sponsors for the “Lincoln Legacy” dinner or buy a ticket to the gala Lincoln Legacy Dinner and Awards Program on Feb. 11.

Theme for 2014 is “A New Birth of Freedom.” The event includes a 6 p.m. reception and 7 p.m. dinner. Sponsors will present the “Abraham Lincoln Leadership” and the “Henry Bellmon Courage” Awards.

“Dr. King’s dream began with Abraham Lincoln’s promise 150 years ago,” said Rep. Pittman, D-Oklahoma City. “I am celebrating freedom by promoting the preservation of Dr. Clara Luper’s vision of the success of The Freedom Center.”

The goal, organizers said, is to raise $50,000 for the next two years.

The Lincoln Legacy Project was formed to honor the memory of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln and the Gettysburg Address in a fitting way. It is a way to connect current beliefs in equality and liberty to that moment in 1863 at a small Pennsylvania town when Lincoln re-launched a nation.

Rep. Pittman serves the chair of the Lincoln Legacy Project. Her colleague, state Rep. Earl Sears, R-Bartlesville, serves as co-chair. The project’s longterm goal is to enhance historical sites across Oklahoma that were impacted by Lincoln’s historic service and legacy.

Community partners include: The Oklahoma History Center, Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce, Oklahoma Black Museum of Performing Arts, and the state Department of Education.

The Freedom Center on Martin Luther King Avenue in northeastern Oklahoma City will be the first beneficiary of the project. The site was the epicenter of the Civil Rights movement in the city and the Oklahoma NAACP Youth Council whose members became leading figures in the movement.

Oklahoma City University President Robert Henry will be the keynote speaker for the Lincoln Legacy Dinner and Awards Program. Henry returned to OCU after serving as Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Before judicial service, he served as dean of the OCU School of Law and as a tenured professor of law.

President Henry also served as the Oklahoma Attorney General and as a state representative.

“As Pulitzer winner Garry Wills says, the Gettysburg Address is no less than ‘The words that remade America.’ With Lincoln’s second inaugural and Mr. Jefferson’s Declaration, it is the most powerful and noble statement of the American Mind,” said Henry.

Oklahoma History Center Director Dr. Bob Blackburn will be the Master of Ceremonies for the dinner and celebration at the facility he manages for the people of Oklahoma. Children will be part of the celebration, along with an education history lesson.

T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton, the first African-American Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, will recieve the Abraham Lincoln Leadership Award at the dinner.

Terri White, commissioner of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services will receive the Henry Bellmon Courage Award for her work and advocacy for mental health challenges.

Information about this timely is available from Steven Johns at (405) 334-9475 or lincolnlegacyproject@yahoo.com.

Johns told The City Sentinel that Corporate Sponsorships are also available.

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