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Bethel AME Church celebrates African American history
Vivacious and, albeit, slightly more youthful versions of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. led a local choir in song and dance Sunday as the Bethel AME Church paid tribute to notable moments in black history.
Miki McDougal, 13, and Jaquari Coleman, 14, played Parks and King, respectively, during the two-hour program, but they weren't alone. Harriet Tubman, Maya Angelou, Malcom X, Jackie Robinson, Serena Williams, Oprah Winfrey, Whitney Houston, Barack Obama and more were all represented by Yuba-Sutter youth.
The program, "Outstanding Moments in African American History," was organized by Elta Barber, youth coordinator at Bethel, and showcased talent from several youth organizations in the area. Be it dance numbers or skits, all of the performances at Sunday's show ended with cheers and applause.
For McDougal, a Gray Avenue Middle School student and Yuba City resident, the chance to play one of her lifetime heroes was an opportunity she didn't want to miss.
"We got to play as someone that didn't just rap," she said. "We got to play as someone that really did something meaningful."
After a brief speech and some spiritual songs, the event moved to a dance from the Tanzania With Love youth group. Dance routines from the Love Tot Dancers and Balanced Life Ministries Dancers would follow, each ending with uproarious applause.
Barber said she was amazed by the amount of talent the youngsters exhibited, even after watching the kids perform both during the show and in rehearsal.
"All these beautiful young people are right here in Marysville and Yuba City," she said, addressing the congregation.
Between dances and other musical numbers, youths dressed as famous figures in black American history delivered speeches that accented each person's achievements.
One the actors was Coleman, a Marysville High School student, who said the program is important because it helps project a positive attitude toward black culture.
While portraying the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the event, Coleman delivered a portion of the civil rights leader's "I Have a Dream" speech, which received a standing ovation from the congregation.
Zenobia Brokenbrough, minister of music at Bethel, said she's glad that so many young people decided to participate in this year's program.
"We came here," she said, "simply, to remember our ancestors, and the strength and courage of our ancestors, and their belief in God."
CONTACT Griffin Rogers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 749-4783. Find him on Facebook at /ADgriffinrogers or on Twitter at @ADgriffinrogers.