Unity Awards, MLK oratorical contest winners announced

Chris Roark
Waxahachie Daily Light
Jamal Rasheed, left, presents Ernest Bradley, center, with the Unity Award. Jane McClasland was also named a recipient of the Unity Award.

The Ellis County African American Hall of Fame Museum and Library on Saturday honored the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by presenting Unity Awards to two members of the community and announcing winners of an oratorical contest.

The organization announced that Ernest Bradley of Ennis and Jane McCasland of Midlothian were the award recipients during a presentation at the N.P. Sims Library in Waxahachie.

“We give this award out annually to two persons who exemplify the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to unite the community,” said Jamal Rasheed, president and executive director of the Ellis County African American Hall of Fame Museum and Library. “Those persons do community service and reach out to bring people together to create Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s beloved community.”

Bradley was presented with the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Award for his contributions to the city of Ennis and the Ennis Negro Chamber of Commerce. Rasheed said Bradley has been key in bringing the African American business community together in Ennis and around Ellis County.

Rasheed said McCasland has led efforts to bring in Boy Scouts to help restore the headstones at the Prince Hall Fraternal Cemetery, a historic Black cemetery in Waxahachie.

Jamal Rasheed, center, honors local students who participated in the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Essay & Oratorical Contest. The winners were Ella Robertson, Courtney Drain and McLauthon Fleming IV.

The Ellis County African American Hall of Fame Museum and Library also hosted its annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Essay and Oratorical Contest on Saturday.

The top winners were Ella Robertson in the elementary school category, Courtney Drain in the middle school category and McLauthon Fleming IV in the high school category.

The subject of the essays was “What would Dr. King Say About the Education of Today?”

This was the fifth year for the Unity Award and the oratory contest.