Lead Story West Edition

City to kick off African American Heritage Month

LOS ANGELES — Five-time Grammy Award winner Dionne Warwick will be among the honorees Feb. 7 at the Los Angeles City Hall when the city holds its African American Heritage Month celebration at 10 a.m.

Warwick has made positive contributions to the world of music and entertainment for more than 50 years.

The annual commemorative kick-off celebration also will honor Superior Court Judge David Cunningham III, Lt. Col. Patricia Jackson-Kelly, who has led an exemplary career in the U.S. Army and will be honored in keeping with this year’s theme of Black History Month’s “African Americans in War Times,” and Noel Massie, president of U.S. operations for United Parcel Service, who will be honored for corporate achievement.

David Cunningham III

Cunningham, a New York University Law school graduate, once served on the Los Angeles Police Commission, His father David Cunningham Jr. replaced Tom Bradley on the City Council after Bradley was elected mayor in 1973.

The City of Los Angeles African American Heritage Month celebration started in 1949 with Our Authors Study Club and the mayor of Los Angeles. The purpose of the celebration is to raise the awareness about the positive contributions African Americans have made to the city.

“Each year, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti , Our Authors Study Club and the Los Angeles African American Heritage Month Committee chooses achievers to be recognized as Living Legends and members of the Hall of Fame for their work in different fields of human endeavor,” said Board of Public Works Commissioner Mike Davis.

“They each have different stories, but they all have a record of commitment, dedication,and determination. Each of these qualities results in a foundation of success,’’ Davis said.

Former honorees have included actress Angela Bassett, singer Charlie Wilson, actor Lou Gossett Jr., singer/songwriter John Legend, singer/songwriter Lionel Richie and singer Johnny Mathis.

Prior Hall of Fame recipients are: U.S. Justice Consuelo Marshall (law), former county Supervisor Yvonne Burke (government), James Rossier (education), Dr. Edward Savage Jr. (health), George McKenna (education), Michelle King (education), Justice Audry Collins (law), U.S. Justice Andre’ Birotte (law), Willie Hagan (education), and former City Councilwoman Rita Walters (government), to name a few.

The theme for this year’s African American History Month Celebrations is: “African Americans in War Times.”

“We will look at both the challenges African Americans endured during their matriculation in war times, but also discuss the continued challenges African American experience today in this country,” Davis said.

The festivities will kick off with a presentation in the City Hall Council Chamber at 10 a.m. to recognize the honorees. The Department of Cultural Affair’s 2018 African American Heritage Month Calendar and Cultural Guide also will be officially unveiled.

Following the City Council presentation, an opening ceremony will be hosted by Our Author’s Study Club on the South Lawn of City Hall.

Participating in the ceremony will be Garcetti; City Council President Herb J. Wesson Jr. and the Los Angeles City Council; Board of Public Works Commissioner Davis; the Department of Cultural Affairs; Our Authors Study Club; and the 2018 African American Heritage Month Committee.