The Black Heritage Council of Marion County’s objectives are to promote an awareness of African American History and great African Americans to our multicultural society; to provide an environment for sharing cultural values and appreciation of diversity; to inspire community-wide participation in recognition of the outstanding achievement of African Americans; to support the Minority Scholarship Fund at The Ohio State University of Marion; and to provide additional scholarship program, The Black Heritage Council Scholarship, to African American students on a competitive basis to attend the college of their choice.
The Black Heritage Council history began with Earlean Burnette (Baskin) Hatch. Hatch’s character is demonstrated in her spirit of giving.
“I believe in blooming where you are planted,” is Hatch’s personal motto.
“Earlean enjoys people and her community,” reads the 42nd Annual Black Heritage Council awards banquet program. “This enjoyment translates into her desire to have annual Black History celebrations. In 1977 a committee was formed and in 1978 the celebration was on.”
The 2020-2021 Black Heritage Council members include an executive board consisting of Chairperson Jacqueline Twine, Vice-Chairperson Lucille Richardson, Secretary Linda Williams, and Treasurer Tara Dyer. Additional council members are Hattie Harris, Shawn Jackson, and Willie King. Michael Williams and Jeremy Walker are associate members.
Many people throughout the community have served on the Black Heritage Council and helped to make the celebration what it is today. According to the council, this is Hatch’s dream come true.
Currently, the Black Heritage Council holds awards banquets where members award scholarships to students. Over $150,000 has been given to black students by the council over time. There are no requirements for where recipients have to attend school and students can work with their guidance counselors to apply.
“We have had some dynamic speakers at this culminating event for the awards banquet and Black History Month. Speakers do not charge for the event. They come because of their commitment to the council,” said Dyer.
The Black Heritage Council relies on community partnerships.
“We can never discount the work and the partnership we have with The Ohio State University,” said Dyer. “The work itself was designed to fill a gap. The ability to maintain the organization for over 42 years demonstrates its presence in this community. So many people in this community support the Black Heritage Council year after year with in-kind donations, sponsorships, and community partnerships.”
Some of this support has been around since day one.
“At a time when people are so negative about whether or not these organizations should exist, the fact that the Black Heritage Council can still stay strong and in solidarity with community partners says something about the organization,” said Dyer.
Additionally, the council is actively working on a project called “Umoja: from Blight to Beauty” for the west side of Marion around the Creston Avenue neighborhood. The objectives are to create an atmosphere of pride and vitality, to create a community garden to encourage healthy eating habits, and to create affordable housing for low to moderate-income individuals. These individuals include veterans, single parents, and those struggling with addiction.
The goals of Umoja are to continue to clean, mow and weed properties; to collaborate with Erin Miller and RSVP program for the community garden on Martin Luther King Avenue; to work with residents in the neighborhood to identify areas to revitalize the neighborhood; and to collaborate with the Hope Center to implement neighborhood groups.
“It’s a lot of work, but it’s a lot of commitment. Marion is a unique city. The Black Heritage Council is an organization and a cause that people in our community support,” Dyer said.
The Black Heritage Council is a nonprofit organization in Marion. They are always willing to accept monetary donations or volunteers. For more information, the community can contact the council through social media or 740-751-8050.