The Iconic Living Legends Awards Ceremony and Exhibit – scheduled to coincide with National Women's History Month – was held recently on Langston University's Oklahoma City campus.
The Iconic Living Legends Award salutes women who have had an iconic impact on the progress of women. This year's honorees included Lelia Foley-Davis, who became the first African-American woman elected mayor in the United States when she was elected mayor of Taft, Okla. on April 3, 1973.
During her acceptance speech, Foley-Davis took the audience back in time for a glimpse of the past and then reflected on the success and progress that she said so many have had a hand in fostering She brought to life episodes of difficulty and depression, detailing barriers created by whites and blacks. She also emphasized how hard people worked to overcome the obstacles.
The visionaries for the awards ceremony and exhibit were the Oklahoma Chapter, Directors of One In A Million (O.I.A.M.), Chaplain Rasheed Akbar and Elizabeth Williams. The Iconic Living Legends Exhibit is a touring exhibit that makes stops at all the public schools and colleges in Oklahoma. The exhibit consists of pictures of the Oklahoma Living Legends, banners, multimedia exhibits and movies, followed by discussion with faculty, students and parents.
As part of the March 22nd ceremony, Memphis filmmaker George Tillman Jr. showed his film, "2 Million Women Marched: the March, the Impact, the Progress."
Much like the ceremony, Tillman's documentary was developed to educate, heighten awareness and inspire others to take pride in themselves and become involved in the success of their community.
Tillman said the audience viewed the film "with a subtle quietness." During the question-and-answer session that followed, many of the questions came from students wanting to know how to become more involved.
In the film, Dr. Judith Thomas says that in her view there needs to be a Million Woman's March 2. So will there be a second march? Tillman and panel members said that question must be answered by the generation of students.
Linda Finley, CEO of the Oklahoma African Heritage Network Inc., noted the interest shown in the film and suggested it be circulated in the Oklahoma education system.
There were more than 200-plus attendees at the event. Jada O'Conner, a third grader, was the mistress of ceremony, displaying diction and poise that helped set the tone for a special evening.