A variety of Wayne County residents’ contributions and experiences are being spotlighted during Black History Month.  

Whitewater Community Television has produced videos lasting about 1 to 3 minutes for quick viewing. They are excerpts of longer interviews made for Wayne County Historical Museum in partnership with Black Legacy Project of Wayne County.   

The video clips have been added to the station’s YouTube channel.

Interviews were conducted with Vicki Robinson, Shonda Kidd, Sandra Wright, Ron Chappell, Ronald Bass, Robert Bowen, Mary Davis, Harold Evans, Elizabeth Bennett, Eileen Baker-Wall, Dennisse Pennington and Alfred Bowen. 

In addition, WCTV interviewed Marlene Lindsey, founder of the Black Legacy Project, during its Feb. 15 episode of “INFocus.”

In addition, Black Legacy Project has posted brief biographies of inspiring local residents throughout February on its Facebook page.

Harold Evans 

Harold Evans, a U.S. Army veteran, was a squad and battalion leader, and when he went to Germany, chief fire control operator of a HAWK missile. 

Evans said he was probably the first Black noncommissioned officer (a Sergeant E-5) in Vietnam. He said he also was the first Black person to be in charge of a squadron and a battalion.  

“During my course in the military, I gained respect because I gave respect, and that was due to my family history,” Evans said. “We all respected each other and we were taught in order to get respect, you have to be respectful.” 

Evans felt extra pressure to succeed. 

“People don’t understand what it is to be Black and be in charge because everybody would say ‘Oh, he doesn’t know what he’s doing.’ Well, me being in charge and being a Black man, I had to elevate myself beyond their expectations. So, when I got done in the military, ‘That guy right there has more integrity than anybody we know.’”

After serving in the military and returning to Richmond, Evans recalls encountering discrimination at quite a few places. 

He remembers hearing “You can’t be here” in those attempts to turn him away, However, he would tell them that after serving in the Army in Vietnam, “I’ll go where I want to go.” 

“They knew they weren’t going to deter me from going where I wanted to go,” he said. 

Evans continues to talk with kids at local youth organizations and try to get them to understand that “We’re all in this together, we’re not separate. Don’t look at the color of a man’s skin.” 

Shonda Kidd

Shonda Kidd, a former registered nurse at Reid Health, described her inspirations for working in health care. 

The late Jewell Spears, who retired as a vice president at Reid Health in 1995, suggested to Kidd’s parents that Kidd pursue nursing, and she followed their advice. 

Spears received the Lifetime Achievement in Nursing Award from Indiana University East’s School of Nursing, and the Kentucky native also is profiled in the University of Kentucky Libraries’ Notable Kentucky African Americans Database.

Kidd entered the profession as a medical assistant before pursuing a bachelor’s degree. She began working at Reid in 1988.

“I feel like if I can just make one change in a person’s life, that’s meaningful to me,” Kidd said, describing the rewards of her profession. 

In addition to Spears, Kidd saluted Mary E. Hill, who saw a need and established a Richmond nursing home in 1948 for people of color when none were available to them. 

After Hill’s death, her investments became a scholarship fund for Wayne County residents interested in entering the medical profession or a related career. Awards are based on financial need rather than grades. 

Kidd serves as president of the scholarship committee and said her goal is to make an education available to those who otherwise can’t afford it. 

“I feel like there are so many kids at high school that don’t even know about the scholarship,” Kidd said. “I just want to spread the word that this is out there for them and it’s available.”

High school students need to apply by April 1. The scholarship application is posted at waynecountyfoundation.org/scholarships-available/.

More details about Hill’s life and facility can be found at mrlinfo.org/history/biography/hill.htm.  

Upcoming events

Marlene Lindsey is speaking at noon Wednesday, Feb. 28, at Indiana University East’s library in Hayes Hall, as part of IU East and Ivy Tech’s Black History Month programming. She will describe the project’s evolution and share stories about local Black people’s contributions that might not be widely known. 

Local Black History Month programming winds down March 5, the date of a free concert at IU East’s Vivian Auditorium in Whitewater Hall. The Ebony Heritage Singers gospel choir from University of Dayton will perform from 7-8 p.m. Reservations are encouraged at eastiuedu.ticketleap.com


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A version of this article appeared in the February 28 2024 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Millicent Martin Emery is a reporter and editor for the Western Wayne News.