The Grambling Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and the Pinkie C. Wilkerson Life Development Center held its inaugural Dr. Helen Richards-Smith black history oratorical contest.
The contest was held on Sunday at Lewis Temple C.M.E. Church in Grambling. The contestants presented orations from Frederick Douglass, representing the Emancipation Proclamation era and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., representing the historic March on Washington era.
Jimmitirz Roberson won first place. Robertson, a junior at Arcadia High School recited an excerpt from Dr. Martin L. King’s “Our God Is Marching On.!”
Jasmine Singleton, a Jonesboro-High School junior, placed second with an excerpt from King’s “I See the Promised Land.” Third place was awarded to Grambling High sophomore Trace Payne. Payne delivered an excerpt from Frederick Douglass’ “The Meaning of the 4th of July for the Negro.”
Other contestants included DeMarious Combs, Endiah Green, Deija James, Lauren Jenkins and Yasmine Singleton.
GAC president, Gwendolyn Giles, said the sorority held the contest to give area youth an opportunity to participate in an educational activity.
Giles said, “We decided to sponsor this contest, so that the youth can learn more about great black leaders and to give them a chance to showcase their talent.”
Janette Adger-Mills, a member of the Shreveport Alumnae Delta chapter said the program was beautiful. “All the contestants were phenomenal and did a marvelous job,” she said.
“I commend this chapter for giving the contestants an opportunity to stand and speak before a group. Also, the contest showed our young people have good talent,” said Adger-Mills.
Richards-Smith was employed at Grambling State University for over 50 years. She retired as the dean of the Earl Lester Cole Honors College. She served two non-consecutive terms as Southwest Regional Director of Delta Sigma Theta. She has been cited and has received the Distinguished Service Award as educator and citizen in the Dictionary of International Biography and is listed in the International Who’s Who in Education.
Richards-Smith said, “This was unimaginable. I appreciate the Deltas for what they have done for Delta and me.”