By: Tony McCray
Eladies Sampson, the Local NAACP Pensacola Branch President, was introduced by her daughter, Rosalind Brock, the National Chairman of the NAACP Board of Directors, for her presentation at the Black History Month observance at Mount Sinai Missionary Baptist Church on this past Sunday, February 28th.
The Rev. Dr. Otha Leverette III, the Pastor for the past thirty-one years and the son of local civil rights leader, Rev. Dr. Otha Leverette II, presided over the observance as a proud shepherd overseeing the spiritual work of his flock. From the youth choir singing old spirituals, to the honoring of church leadership that have made an impact in local Black History, to the mistress of ceremonies, to the poetry readings, the program had the feel of a community-wide celebration. In fact Rev. Leverette took on the mantle of a prophet when he exclaimed to the congregation and the guests that he just felt that the guest speaker, the Pensacola NAACP Branch President, was definitely going to deliver a great message.
Eladies Sampson did not disappoint Rev. Leverette and neither did her daughter, Rosalind Brock. When Brock strode up to the podium she carried the special relationship of a loving daughter with her. She shared with the church that she flew into the Pensacola to enjoy this experience with her mother, as she has taken on the position as the President of the local NAACP Branch. One could tell the sincerity in the voice of Brock when she openly stated, “I love my mother”.
Eladies Sampson moved from the tender lighthearted moment straight to the scripture when she stated that the text she was given was from 1 John 2:24. She then gave the King James Version and included the version out of the Message Bible when she presented, “Stay with what you heard from the beginning, the original message. Let it sink into your life. If what you heard from the beginning lives deeply in you, you will live deeply in both Son and Father.” Her next quote to set the stage for her history lesson was from Marcus Garvey when she stated, “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”
With that she gave the Mt. Sinai Baptist Church history of its pastors up to Rev. Leverette, she moved to Black inventors, such as Otis Boykin, who invented the artificial heart pacemaker, she then named the Black Secretaries of State like Condoleezza Rice and General Colin Powell. Her next Black history maker was expected when she stated, “Let’s not forget to mention a young man of mixed heritage who was a community organizer, civil rights lawyer and law professor teacher before going into politics. You all know who that young man is, our 44th & 45th President of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama.
The presentation went on to honor local Black history makers in civil rights, such as Rev. H.K. Matthews, Rev. B.J. Brooks, Rev. Leverette II, and in the military such as Gen. Daniel Chappie James. Sampson, then expertly weaved the scripture into the history lesson and ended with a poem called “My Heritage”:
“So, remember your Heritage, Men of color it is your roots that gives you your sense of pride, And your creator; who is your Guide. And tell the Children for they are our tomorrow, And if we fail to discipline them and in fairness, We shall not tomorrow. My Heritage, My Heritage, My Beginning, My All in All, For without My Heritage, there is not me at all”.