In the spirit of Black History Month, the Sunrise Baptist Church Family Life Center of Shreveport-Bossier-DeSoto, Louisiana hosted the 29th Annual African American Scholarship Awards Banquet on February 11, 2017. Founded by Katie Latin, this scholarship program was made to help African American students be able to afford college.

“We’ve been giving out scholarships every year,” says Katie Latin’s son, Ken Latin, chairman of the organization. “The number of scholarships we give varies. This event is a fundraiser we do. We give out anywhere from ten to fifteen each year on the first of June.”

The amount of money given goes up to at least $1,000 per scholarship.

Dr. Rodney Ellis, Chancellor of Southern University-Shreveport, was given the honor of being the keynote speaker of this event, speaking to the attendees about what Southern University has to offer for its students as well as his own experience of receiving a black education and learning more about black history throughout his life.

Ken Latin, Chairman of African-American Scholarship Awards

“High school was another phase in which black education was important. In English, we read classics like Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and Othello,” says Dr. Ellis during his speech. “But we also read the Black classics. We read classics like Black Boy and Native Son and Raisin in the Sun. Our principal, who was an African American nun, taught this class and would make us read speeches by people like Martin Luther King Jr. and W.E.B. DuBois. It really helped me develop a well rounded view of African American history.”

At the end of the evening, KSLA-TV News Anchor Domonique Benn announced the ten recipients for the scholarship awards: Judge Ree Casey-Jones of Caddo Parish Juvenile Court; Dr. Rodney Ellis, Chancellor of Southern University- Shreveport; Renee Ellis, Principal of Westwood Elementary; Captain Don Gibbs of the Caddo Sheriff’s Office; Bonnie Moore, director of Community Development; Ernestine “Tootie” Morrison, Chef at Abby Singer Bistro (Robinson Film Center); Mrs. Ethel Norman, Entrepreneur of Caddo Parish Schools; Huey L. Taylor President of Benevolent Funeral Homes and Insurance Companies of Shreveport; Chief Kim Jolliver of Shreveport Fire Department; and Dinero Washington, President and CEO of SporTran and Metro Management.

Katie Latin’s inspiration that came from inviting her aspiring students to her home for dinner at her home has impacted many African American students with her scholarship. After 29 years, the African American Scholarship has helped hundreds of students be able to afford college and achieve their dreams.

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Shreveport Scholarship Banquet

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