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Gazette and Bulletin: February 8, 1943 – Negro History Week Opens With Church Meeting

The opening ceremonies of a week-long Negro History Week observance, which is conducted nationwide, were held yesterday afternoon before a large congregation at the Shiloh Baptist Church. Jesse O’ Thomas, a negro staff assistant in the war savings department of the U.S. Treasury in Washington, was the featured speaker of the program that included Mayor

The opening ceremonies of a week-long Negro History Week observance, which is conducted nationwide, were held yesterday afternoon before a large congregation at the Shiloh Baptist Church.

Jesse O’ Thomas, a negro staff assistant in the war savings department of the U.S. Treasury in Washington, was the featured speaker of the program that included Mayor Leo C. Williamson, Charles F. Askey, director of the City Council of Defense, and E. S. Frymire, county salvage chairman.

Under the supervision of the Junior Council for the Bethune-Douglas Center, the first program in observance of Negro History Week was centered on reports of scrap and war savings stamp and bond drives conducted by the Negroes of the city.

Reports of Negro-conducted stamp and bond drives as well as scrap drives during the first month of the year were presented to Mr. Askey and Salvage Chairman Frymire by ten-year-old Anna Mary Todd. According to reports Williamsport Negros purchased almost $600 worth of War Bonds in January.

Negro history as an aid to the growth of the country was vividly described by the featured speaker, Mr. O’Thomas.

Mayor Williamson delivered the welcoming speech to Mr. O’Thomas on behalf of the colored and white citizens of The Friendly City of Williamsport: Toastmaster of the initial ceremony was Ross Lee Hewitt, Jr. of Boy Scout Troop 19.

Musical entertainment at the ceremony was provided by the Four Keys and the musical ensemble of the center. Devotions were under the direction of Harry Jones and Ernestine Potts and in accordance with Boy Scout Week, ushers were Melvin Whaley and Tommy Brewer of Troop 19.

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