Cuyahoga County

2016 Black History Month Celebration

Student award recipients, Raymond Robinson, Diamond Burnett and Charday Wynn.
Yvonne Pointer, activist and speaker, received this year's Public Service Award.
Former congressman, mayor, diplomat and civil rights activist, Andrew Young, delivered the keynote address.


The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office hosted its second annual Stephanie Tubbs Jones Black History Month Celebration on Thursday, February 18, 2016, at the Cleveland Convention Center. More than 600 people were in attendance.

The Rev. Andrew Young, a member of Martin Luther King's inner circle who went on to serve in Congress, at the United Nations and as mayor of Atlanta, highlighted the central role of women in the Civil Rights Movement during his keynote speech.
"The men get all the credit, but the women did all the work," said Ambassador Young. "Martin Luther King had nothing to do with Rosa Parks sitting on that bus."

Ambassador Young noted that he, Dr. King and the late Rev. Ralph Abernathy, Dr. King’s successor as head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, all married strong-willed women from Perry County, Georgia. "If we hadn’t married these women," he said, "you never would have heard of us."
The 83-year-old ambassador struck an upbeat note, acknowledging the nation’s persistent problems regarding race and poverty, but insisting, "America is greater now than it has ever been. Anybody who doesn’t know that has been nowhere and hasn’t done anything."

Ambassador Young added, "We have to get to the point where we look at problems as opportunities."

While in Congress in the 1970s, Ambassador Young served with late Louis B. Stokes, the longtime Cleveland area congressman who celebrated his 90th birthday with us at last year's Black History Month event. Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Ronald Adrine spoke of Stokes' unfailing good humor, sense of duty and support for upcoming African American political leaders including Stephanie Tubbs Jones who became County Prosecutor in 1991 and succeeded Congressman Stokes on Capitol Hill eight years later.

"Lou was where he should be all the time, doing the things the community demanded of him," said Judge Adrine. "He taught me that a real man stands up, stands tall and proceeds to do what he thinks is right."

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Brett S. Hammond introduced a video tribute to his grandfather, the longtime Congressman who died last August, and likened his approach to public service to that of the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office.

"My granddad was always about others," said APA Hammond. "He always stood and fought for others who had no voice."

Black History Month Awards went to RPM International vice president Randell McShepard (business); Cuyahoga Community College President Alex Johnson (education); federal Magistrate Judge Kenneth McHargh (judiciary); Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams (law enforcement); civic activist Yvonne Pointer (public service); and students Charday Wynn, Raymond Robinson, Diamond Burnett and Brandon Taylor. The categories represent issues that defined the career of the late Congresswoman Tubbs Jones.

This year’s Stephanie Tubbs Jones Black History Month Celebration was organized by First Assistant County Prosecutor Duane Deskins with support from his Juvenile Justice Division team.