ASALH honors teacher’s work Basnight and Polk urge

Published 11:30 pm Monday, September 10, 2007

By Staff
expansion of efforts to foster black history
By DAN PARSONS,Staff Writer
According to African tradition, it fell to William Polk, 85, to give a blessing to begin the dinner celebrating black history at Mount Hebron Church of Christ on Saturday night.
Polk, also the event’s featured speaker, nodded, and the ninth-annual Charter Day Merit Awards Dinner organized by the Original Washington Chapter of the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History began. The dinner mixed soul food with soul music. The music was provided by the Mount Olive Male Chorus. The annual dinner is held to further ASALH’s primary goal of promoting an understanding of black history.
The association honored Renee Basnight, a black-history teacher at Washington High School, for her efforts to educate people about black history and its role in world history. Basnight said she is “fighting a battle” to teach young black men and women their history.
During his remarks, Polk echoed the need for people to learn black history.
Polk, who served three years in an Army engineers regiment during World War II, said he witnessed many of the civil-rights events that have helped define the identity of blacks in American society, but Polk said he does not think of himself as a scholar of history.