“Never Give Up:” Lanett council member gives inspiring speech for Black History Month

Published 9:30 am Friday, February 24, 2023

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LANETT — A member of the Lanett City Council told some Lanett seniors on Wednesday that Black History Month is about three things: (1) people, (2) people and (3) people and that those who succeed in life aren’t the ones who never experience failure; they are the ones who never give up.

Council Member Tamalita Autry was the guest speaker for that Black History program at the Lanett Senior Center. She currently represents District 2 on the council. Autry was introduced as the speaker for the day by a fellow council member, Angelia Thomas. Mayor Jamie Heard was there to support them and to do something he really enjoys – visiting with seniors.

Autry said that people who succeed in life are those who act like winners and don’t get discouraged when they don’t succeed the first time they attempt something. She made the point that people like Sojourner Truth, Harriett Tubman, Booker T. Washington, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Barack Obama didn’t give up the first time they failed at something. “They never gave up,” she said. “To be a winner in life you have to be the kind of person who never gives up, even when it seems that everything is against you. It’s up to you to keep moving forward. Each of us needs to do what God intended us to do. We must always be mindful of that as we move forward, forward, forward.”

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Autry began her presentation with a spirited version of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Many of the seniors joined her in singing that well-known song dating from the Civil War era.That led to her talking about a little Black girl in the early days of integration making a D on her report card and having a hard time trying to tell her parents why it had happened to her. After all, she had always made good grades before. It all came down to the teacher having told her class that she didn’t want to teach Black history because she’d never had any training in that subject.

Autry said she came to understand that dilemma when she herself was a teacher and the principal asked her to teach science. “I didn’t feel like I was capable of doing it,” she said.

Anyone who ever had her as science teacher will tell you she was one of the best teachers they ever had.

She gained inspiration in taking on that challenge from her uncle, the late Ross Dunn, who always preached to have a plan to work and to work that plan.

“Everyone can be great in some way,” she said. “We just need to keep moving forward, being mindful there are times we need to drop the net and be fishers of men.”

Autry spoke of the Bible’s message on salt and light. Salt, she said, adds spice to life, and God is the light of life.

It’s God’s wisdom to know what one simple seed can mean for future generations. That one seed can produce abundant fruit, from which many more seeds will come. “That one seed will grow beyond anything we can comprehend,” she said.

A winner in life, she said, is not measured by how many possessions one has but what they do for others. When one pours out their goodness, others will do the same for them.

“When I look around this room, all I see is winners,” she said. “All we do is win, win, win.”

Senior Center Manager led a loud round for applause to Autry when she finished her energetic talk. “Thank you for reminding us that we always need to be looking forward and not looking back,” she said.