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Halifax Community College will host its inaugural Celebrating Black Excellence Program on February 9 at 10 a.m. Dr. Ervin V. Griffin Sr. Centre. 

The event will feature the college’s signature Annual Stamp Dedication and local African American Heroes recognition and the opening of a month-long art exhibition.

The 46th stamp in the United States Postal Service’s Black Heritage series honors author Ernest J. Gaines –1933-2019. 

Best known for such novels as The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman and A Lesson Before Dying, Gaines drew from his childhood as the son of sharecroppers on a Louisiana plantation to explore the untold stories of rural African Americans, adding a vital voice to American literature. The stamp features an oil painting of Gaines, based on a 2001 photograph. 

Mike Ryan designed the stamp with art by Robert Peterson, and Greg Breeding served as art director.

HCC will recognize dedicated and selfless community members in its Saluting Local African American Heroes ceremony. 

The award ceremony will celebrate African American individuals who demonstrate unwavering commitment and make unique contributions to the Roanoke Valley community. 

The keynote address will be delivered by Councilman Leonardo Williams. 

Councilman Williams represents Ward 3 on the Durham City Council. 

Councilman Williams is a native of Halifax County, and an alumnus of Southeast Halifax High School.

The event will conclude with the presentation of North Carolina visual artist Shawn Etheridge’s HBCU Collection. 

A native of Elizabeth City, Etheridge has been creating art since childhood. 

He graduated from North Carolina Central University in 1993, majoring in public administration and minoring in visual art, while continuing to nurture his craft as a part-time art student.

Ethridge’s artwork has been displayed in numerous establishments spanning the east coast and in the homes of prominent public figures such as Erykah Badu and Dr. Cornel West. His work can also be viewed in the permanent collections of Benedict College, Saint Augustine’s University, and Shaw University.  

This collection will be on display until February 28 in Griffin Centre.

Learn more about Shawn Etheridge at this link

This in-person event is free and open to the public.