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Entertainers, leaders portrayed in history show

Twelve-year-old Piedro Wilson imitated the famous singer’s dance moves as the sounds of Michael Jackson were heard throughout the Good Samaritan Hall Saturday night.

Moments earlier, during the Brookhaven-Lincoln County NAACP Youth Council’s Black History Program, Wilson had given a brief recap of Jackson’s life and accomplishments. He said the late singer’s dancing was what prompted him to portray Jackson for the weekend program.

The audience cheered Wilson’s effort.

“I was super-happy,” Wilson said about the response.

In all, about 15 notable black leaders, entertainers and others were highlighted during the youth council program, which also included several songs, a praise dance and fashion show.

Ward Two Alderman Terry Bates, who attended the program, said all the performers were great but he would like to have seen more.

“We got just a little peek into black history,” Bates said.

Among those highlighted were President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama; Mississippi native Oprah Winfrey and Rosa Parks, whose refusal to give up her seat on an Alabama bus was influential in the Civil Rights movement.

Youth Council adviser Chasta Merchant said the Youth Council members had their choice of who to portray in the program. They then spent two weeks preparing for the presentation.

“We have a lot of people to be proud of in our history,” Merchant said. “We hope the audience learned from what was said tonight.”

Members of the youth council range in age from 5 months to 23 years old. The group meets the first Saturday of every month at 10 a.m. at the Good Samaritan Hall on East Chippewa Street.

“I am so proud of them,” Merchant said about the members’ performance Saturday.

The Rev. Robert Winston Jr., who also sang during the program, credited Merchant for leading the council and encouraging the young people to attend church and be involved in positive community activities.

“If we don’t give them something to do, the street’s going to get them,” Winston said.