NEWBURGH - Milton Best made a promise a few years back. The gratitude for keeping his word could be seen in the crowd that filled Best Temple Church last Wednesday.
Best, the Pastor of Best Temple, was intent on carrying on the tradition of his father, offering the Church to the Black History Committee of the Hudson Valley for their Annual Inspirational Service. And, just like in years past, once again, the third Wednesday in February was the official date for the special Service. A standing room only crowd enjoyed themselves as they took part in dance, music and prayer. The night also carried the theme, "At the Crossroads of Freedom & Equality... Observing Works of the Community." Pastor Patricia Thompson of the Restorer of the Breach Church relayed words on that message.
"We are still at the crossroads of freedom and equality," affirmed Thompson, who alluded to Harriet Tubman, Abraham Lincoln and the Civil Right Act. "There is still racism."
The theme’s relevance was further stressed by Community Advocate Lilliam Harris.
"We need to get together; whatever we do," urged Harris. "Let’s all remember where we came from."
Harris further spoke about how far the Black History Committee of the Hudson Valley has come over the years. "I remember when it was Black History Week," she recalled, as she was met with cheers.
The night also featured the recognition of five community organizations that have made a difference; Masada Lodge #115, Newburgh Community Action Committee, Order of Eastern Star Daughter Effie Grant Grand District #8, Glenn Hines Boys & Girls Club and Liberty Partnership Program. Each was awarded with a plaque and asked to stand as their contributions were cited.
The Black History Committee of the Hudson Valley seeks to preserve the past while enlightening the future. Its mission is aimed at presenting, interpreting and preserving the history, art and culture of African Americans in the Hudson Valley as well as the people of African descent throughout the world.
Pastor Best assured those in attendance his Church doors would remain open for many years to come for the popular, integral annual event.
"I’m glad we have come so far," said Best. "We even have one of ours in the White House."