JOPLIN, MO--- "I enjoy black history everyday." Ruthie Cox has lived in Joplin since she was a teenager. And she remembers when times were harder for African Americans, but her church family has always been there to support her. She now serves as president of Joplin's National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and is looking to strengthen her community. "We are a small community. It takes all of us. It's kind of like the old saying it takes a village to raise a child," says Cox.
Joplin's first black Mayor Melodee Colbert-Kean was also in attendance and says she was happy to see unity. "It's just good when the community can come together and everybody fellowship and rejoice on one accord, not separate, but on one accord and just share in the history of the black race in Joplin," says Mayor Colbert-Kean.
And that's exactly what community members shared in today. Song and dance united not only these two churches, but more importantly...an entire community. "It means unity in a community, it means togetherness, it means celebrating the heritage together."
Some people may feel excluded during black history month, but Mayor Colbert-Kean wants the community to know Joplin is strong because of its diversity. "The black race, whether you're white race, Native American, Mexican, whatever hispanic-- whatever you are, you helped make America what it is today. So, it's important for people in Joplin to know that only for its significance and for the United States as a whole to know that," exclaims Mayor Colbert-Kean.
These two sister churches have been a part of the community for more than a century and today's black history program was all about celebrating that legacy.