The Newton County Historical Committee on Black Heritage Preservation is honoring City Councilwoman Janet Goodman at its first Scholarship Gala Friday, Feb. 28, beginning at 6 p.m., at Under the Stars Banquet Center in Oxford. Tickets are $25.
Mary Terri James, chairman of the grassroots group, said Councilwoman Goodman has dedicated her life to serving the city of Covington and the community faithfully for more than 35 years. And for her dedication, James said the committee decided to pay tribute to Goodman.
"She (Goodman) has diligently and courageously worked to ensure growth and prosperity to the community by going the extra mile to ensure each of our lives has been positively affected by her service," James wrote in a letter, "For this reason, we consider it a privilege to make her our first Annual Scholarship Honoree."
"Councilwoman Janet Goodman’s leadership during the civil rights era in Covington during the ‘70s and her work with city council has led her to become a well-known community activist. She has helped change the course for local women in politics and more specifically black women in politics."
Goodman became a city council member in 1978, after she helped a number of other officials run for office. She has served on a number of committees that have helped better Covington and Newton County.
She has seen additions to the community, such as the Newton County Jail, Industrial Park and the Miracle League Field, and credited those advances to people like herself who truly care about Covington.
Goodman has worked in a number of organizations, including serving as secretary of the R.L Cousins Alumni Class of 1965 and as the president of the Fowler Redevelopment Initiative. She was a member of the NAACP and Black United Front. She also helped to organize Newton County’s Voter’s League and the Washington Street Community Center.
She is a member of Grace United Methodist Church, where she has been a member since age 8.
Goodman has been a media clerk at Newton High School since 1988 and she said she tries to share her experiences, especially with young African Americans who do not necessarily realize how others have fought and struggled for things that they have in front of them. That’s also the key goal of the Newton County Historical Committee on Black Heritage Preservation.
James said the organization has a mission to raise awareness about the history of African-Americans in Newton County. She said the group, still in its initial stages, will serve as a non-profit — awarding scholarships to youths and hosting events that will raise awareness to that history.
One significant event held by the organization was the Juneteenth Festival in June 2013, which celebrated and raised awareness about the ending of slavery in America. The event consisted of family fun and games at several locations in the Newton County area.
James said the first Scholarship Gala will help to raise funds for the organization’s first scholarship, which will be awarded in May 2015. She said events will be held throughout the year to raise money for the scholarship.
For more information regarding tickets for gala, call Mary Terri James at 404-861-0707; Sharon Sawyer at 770-788-0792; or Frederick Johnson at 404-308-0780.