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February 23, 2001

State Hosts Annual African-American History Month Celebration

CHICAGO -- The annual program celebrating African-American History Month was held at noon today at the James R. Thompson Center.

In conjunction with this year's theme "A Salute to Excellence", four people were recognized for their contributions to Illinois. Department of Human Services Secretary Linda Renee Baker represented Governor Ryan in the presentation of awards. The awardees were:

Excellence in Community Service-Reverend Dr. Clay Evans. Reverend Evans founded the Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church on Chicago's south side and recently retired after 50 years as Pastor at the church. Rev. Evans has been a leader in the Civil Rights Movement since 1965. He has been instrumental in launching the ministerial careers of 93 people. Rev. Evans has been a featured soloist on numerous albums of the 250-voice Choir of the Church and won the 1996 Stellar Award for their gospel album-I've Got a Testimony. Rev. Evans' ministry was prominently featured weekly on radio and television. Although no longer preaching in the church, Rev. Evans continues to reach out and serve the community;

Excellence in Education Administration-Cozette Buckney. Cozette Buckney has worked in the field of education for 32 years. She began her career as an English teacher at Englewood and Austin High Schools in Chicago. She also served as principal at Melville Fuller and Jackie Robinson elementary schools and Jones Metropolitan High School. Currently, she is Chief Education Officer of the Chicago Public School System, responsible for the direction of all central administration units, the six regions and 601 schools;

Excellence in Business Administration-John Rogers. John Rogers is Chief Executive Officer, Chairman and Co-Chief Investment Officer of Ariel Capital Management, Inc. Founded by Rogers in 1983 as an institutional money management firm, Ariel Capital has grown to over $5 billion in assets under management. The firm serves institutional clients including endowments, foundations and 401(k) plans, as well as individual investors;

Excellence in the Arts-Dr. Margaret Burroughs. Dr. Burroughs is co-founder of the Museum of Negro History and Art-now known as the DuSable Museum of African American History and Art. She is dedicated to the creative arts, international culture and specifically African and African-American life, history and tradition. She is the author of several books. Dr. Burroughs has served as a Commissioner to the Chicago Park District since her appointment by the late Mayor Harold Washington in 1985. Her most recent reappointment by Mayor Daley extends to 2003. She presently serves as Chairman on the Committee on Recreation, as well as a member of the Committee of Purchasing, Expenditure and Flexible Funding and Personnel and General Operations

WVON Radio talk show host Cliff Kelley served as emcee for the program. The Whitney Young High School Concert Choir performed musical selections.


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