Community event celebrates Black History Month

HARLINGEN — Valley residents came together in Harlingen yesterday to celebrate Black History Month.

Under a tent on West Van Buren Avenue, the event began with a church service led by Pastor Ray Ellington of Corinth Missionary Baptist Church in Harlingen.

Ellington, who spearheaded the event, studied the history of the Buffalo Soldiers who were stationed at Fort Brown, a military post of the United States Army in Brownsville during the later half of 19th century and the early part of the 20th century.

“The importance is not only celebrating black history in the broad spectrum, but here in the Rio Grande Valley we wanted to highlight the significance that blacks have had in the Valley since the 1830s,” Ellington said.

“We wanted to magnify the blacks here in the Rio Grande Valley and the impact that we’ve had.”

Guest speakers included Captain Paul J. Matthews, founder and chairman of the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum, Trooper Wayne DeHart — a 25-year veteran actor of film and television who appeared in such films as “Robo Cop,” “A Time to Kill,” “A Soldier’s Story” and “Jason’s Lyric” — William “Earl” Smith, “The Man with The Patch,” a native of San Benito and head of security at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Austin, and Dr. Antonio Zavaleta, a retired anthropology professor for UTB/TSC and member of the Texas Southmost College Board of Trustees.