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Verizon executive to speak at Central Baptist Church

Staff Report • Feb 20, 2020 at 8:30 PM

KINGSPORT — Central Baptist Church will welcome a special guest to town this weekend to close out its Black History Month celebration.

Rose Stuckey Kirk, senior vice president and chief corporate social responsibility officer for Verizon, will speak at two church events this weekend, and the public is invited to attend.

About the events

The weekend’s festivities will begin with a soul food banquet on Saturday at 6 p.m. at the V.O. Dobbins Complex, located at 301 Louis St. The celebration will close with Sunday’s 11 a.m. worship service at the church, located at 301 Carver St.

About the speaker

Stuckey Kirk will serve as keynote speaker for both the banquet and the worship service. In her role, she oversees the strategic direction for all of Verizon’s social impact marketing activity, according to her company bio.

Stuckey Kirk is also an award-winning journalist and marketer and was the executive producer of the documentary “Without A Net: The Digital Divide in America.”

About the church’s celebration

The church’s Black History Committee chose “Celebrating the Anniversary of 400 Years of Slavery History” as the theme for this year’s Black History Month celebration.

Earlier this month, church members created a timeline to commemorate the history of the African American voyage from colonial America to the modern era of contemporary civil rights.

“For many years the history of the African American was hidden, distorted or romanticized,” according to Linda Kincaid, co-chair of the church’s Black History Committee. “For centuries few Americans thought in terms of the possibility of a distinctive history of African American not dismissing the period called the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s. Sure, there were reports of African American history found in the autobiographies of Fredrick Douglass, W.E. DuBois, and poems of Phyllis Wheatley. Historians refused to write the stories truthfully of the African American experience in the American history books, until the early 1900s.”

Kincaid noted that on Sunday, August 16, 2019, The New York Times published a limited edition magazine entitled “The 1619 Project,” which helped inspire this year’s theme.

“In August of 1619, a ship appeared on the horizon, near Point Comfort, (a) coastal port in the British colony of Virginia. It carried more than 20 enslaved Africans, who were sold to the colonies,” Kincaid said. “America was not yet America, but this was the moment it began. No aspect of the country that would be formed here has been untouched by the 250 years of slavery that followed. On the 400th anniversary of this fateful moment, it is finally time to tell our story truthfully.”

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