Black History Month, otherwise known as African American History Month began in 1926, to pay tribute to African American men and women who have made significant contributions to America and the rest of the world in the way of science, politics, law, the arts, education and much more.
On Tuesday, February 19, 2019, a special Black History Month Reception was held by City of Kissimmee to recognize a few people in the community who have shown leadership and made a difference in Osceola County. The Bronze Kingdom African Art Gallery, was also recognized and received a Proclamation in honor of “African American History Month” during the City of Kissimmee Commissioners meeting.
Ronnie Hardee, received recognition for organizing the community youth organization program, STEP (Striving Towards Enormous Possibilities), with the goal and vision of helping the youth of today become leaders of tomorrow. STEP targets single family homes and assists with mentoring and counseling.
Another community leader who was recognized was Ronald F. McCrimon, who has made a difference in law enforcement and was also an instructor for 15 years at T.E.C.O. and Valencia College. He now serves on a number of boards throughout the community. Ronald was honored at the Martin Luther King Banquet for Osceola County.
Deloris McMillon was present to awarded Tommy Tate with the Deloris McMillion Trailblazer Award. This was the first time the Deloris McMillion Trailblazer Award has been given during Black History Month. Mr. Tate was the first African American male principal for the Osceola County School District, holding the position at Denn John Middle School.
Osceola Arts partnered with the City of Kissimmee to create the “Art in Public Places” lending program. This program provides artistic and cultural displays to engage the community and enrich Kissimmee City Hall for all of its residents and guests. The Bronze Kingdom African Art Gallery was able to feature African American paintings, sculptures, and fabrics, a total of 80 items from their collection at Kissimmee City Hall. This exhibit of items will be on display until February 28, 2019. The Bronze Kingdom African Art Gallery, located in the Orlando Fashion Square Mall has 16,000 square feet of gallery space and displays over 2,000 items which makes them the largest in the world. Items in the collection are from places including Nigeria, Cameroon, Mali, Côte d’ Ivoire, Ghana, Senegal, and The Congo.
The collection belongs to Mr. Rawlvan Bennett, who has been collecting African art for 39 years. Mr. Bennett’s favorite piece is actually the first piece he purchased, the Kuba Mask (Kuba is a Congo Tribe). Bennett’s wish is for visitors of the gallery to learn and understand the African American culture and history through the stories of their African artifacts that they now call African Art.
For more information on the Bronze Kingdom African Art Gallery, please visit www.bronzekingdom.com.
Congratulations to all of the community leaders who received awards during the Black History Month Reception. You are an inspiration to future generations.