WAXAHACHIE — Rainy weather did not dampen the spirit of a historic moment that took place on Saturday morning at Freedman Memorial Plaza.
Residents gathered at the plaza to honor five individuals who have made a positive difference in the community and country.
This year’s inductees included Eddie Hugh Allen, Dr. Jamal Randy Allen Rasheed, Ricky Don Sargent, Richard Tave and Oscar Lee Turner.
Freedman Memorial Plaza was founded in 2006 to honor the struggles and lasting contributions of black residents. Names inscribed on the memorial in the center of the plaza are residents who were business owners, doctors, lawyers, builders, aviators, community leaders and public servants.
Barbara Turner, who is the wife of Oscar Lee Turner, addressed the crowd stating that her husband would be honored to have his name listed the memorial.
“I am just happy that all of you are here to honor these inductees to be put on the wall which have been major contributors to the community and the county,” Barbara said. “I just hope that this celebration will continue because it is a cultural tradition that we are celebrating. It is worthwhile. Your history always has value. If you don’t value it no one else will.”
Oscar graduated from Turner High School in Waxahachie in 1955 and enlisted in the Navy shortly after graduation. He served in the Navy for more than 20 years, retiring as a Master Chief Petty Officer. He also worked at a defense logistics agency where he was responsible for aircraft quality control at McDonnell Douglas and General Dynamics.
Oscar retired for the second time in 1994. He was married for 58 years to Barbara when he passed away in 2013.
“It means a lot to me. In order for you to get your name placed on the wall you had to do something that was either valuable to the community or your country,” Barbara added. “In his case, he served in the military. He was in the Vietnam War. So he was a major contributor to this country.”
Broderick Sargent spoke on behalf of his brother Ricky Don Sargent, who was unable to make it ceremony because of deteriorating road conditions caused by the weather.
“He just wanted to say that he appreciates being selected and being inducted into the wall of honor,” Broderick said. “It really means a lot to him and to our family. We would like to thank everyone for your support and we really do appreciate it.”
Sargent is a 1978 graduate of Waxahachie High School and holds a holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bishop Arts College in Dallas. He was an assistant coach for Waxahachie for 16 years. During Sargent’s coaching career he made three state title games appearances — the 1992 appearance as an assistant with Waxahachie, in 2004 with Jasper and as a head coach with Hempstead. He also was a coach with Southwestern Assemblies of God University. During his time at the University, he was named Red River Athletic Conference Track Coach of the Year in 2000. Sargent is currently the head football coach and athletic director at Hearne High School.
“I really can’t put it into words. It is truly an honor. I am humbled by it and very appreciative of it that my name will go down on Freedman Memorial, a place where I grew up,” Ricky Don said previously.
Richard Tave, a former member of Waxahachie’s Black City Council and worked for Marchman’s department store in downtown Waxahachie for 40 years, was another of those honored. He joined Eddie Hugh Allen, who was a Marine killed in action in Vietnam on May 27, 1968 at the age of 21, and Dr. Jamal Randy Allen Rasheed.
Rasheed is the founder, president and CEO of the Ellis County African-American Hall of Fame. Rasheed is also the president of the Prince Hall Fraternal Cemetery Association, which operates the Fraternal Cemetery under the Ellis County African Hall of Fame Foundation. He is currently a sociology professor at Eastfield College in Mesquite and is a teacher of theatre arts at DeSoto East Middle School.
Rasheed, who was unable to attend on Saturday, told the Daily Light that he is honored to be listed with so many people who have made a difference in the community.
“I am very, very excited because that monument and that wall represent a lot of great people who have done great things in the City of Waxahachie for the African American Community,” Rasheed stated previously. “To be listed among those great people is an honor.”