Article Submitted by Dr. Lavern J. HolyfieldMulticultural Social Engagement Partnership (MSEP) Commissioner

National African American History Month highlights the contributions that African Americans have made to American history in their struggles for freedom and equality and the impact of this culture on our Nation’s history.

Carter G. Woodson, a Harvard-trained historian believed it important to raise awareness of the contributions of African American civilization.  Woodson founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (later renamed the Association for the Study of African American Life and History – ASALH).  Through this organization, in 1925, Woodson conceived and introduced Negro History Week. The event was first celebrated during a week in February 1926 that encompassed the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. 

The celebration was expanded to a month in 1976, the nation’s bicentennial. President Gerald R. Ford urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” That year, fifty years after the first celebration, the association held the first African American History Month. By this time, the entire nation had come to recognize the importance of Black history in the drama of the American story. Since then each American president has issued African American History Month proclamations. And the ASALH continues to promote the study of Black history all year.

Above:  Excerpts from

The City of Duncanville is a diverse community with a history of African American leadership over the years.  Today, we feature some of the current African American Leaders in Duncanville.

Mark Cooks , Duncanville City Council Member District 4

Text Box: (Photo submitted by Mr. Cooks)
Mark Cooks
  1. How long have you been a resident of Duncanville?  14 years.
  2. What attracted you to the city?  I moved to Duncanville because of a new housing community that was being built. I wanted my family to be a part of a growing community just like the one I grew up in.
  3. What does African American month mean to you? Black History month has many different connotations for different people, but its importance to me comes from a place where I want to be reminded of my heritage and the many sacrifices and accomplishments made by those who have journeyed before me and to whom I am forever grateful. Black History month is a time of reflection; whether good or bad, it reminds me to continue looking forward and celebrating as our country recognizes the many contributions and the sacrifices made to afford us the liberties and the rights we enjoy today.

Patrick Harvey, Duncanville City Council Member At-Large

Text Box: (Photo submitted by Mr. Harvey)
Patrick Harvey
  1. How long have you been a resident of Duncanville? My family has lived in Duncanville since 1989.
  2. What attracted you to the city? There are many fine, quiet neighborhoods and homes with character, centrally located in the DFW Metroplex.
  3. What does African American history month mean to you?  African American history is essentially the story of America told from the perspective of those who have contributed mightily while waiting to experience and enjoy the fullness of the American experiment.

Cassandra Phillips, Vice President, Duncanville ISD Board of Trustees

Text Box: Ms. Phillips (right) and Board President Carla Fahey organize coats for distribution to students.
Cassandra Phillips

1.      How long have you been a resident of Duncanville?  I have been a proud and active resident of the City of Champions for 21 years.  

2.      What attracted you to the city?  While searching for our first home, location and schools were a top priority.  We ended up winning on both with a great location and exceptional schools.  

3.      What does African American history month mean to you?  For me, African American history month means a time for us to celebrate our ancestors.  A time to reflect on the struggles, sacrifices, contributions, and accomplishments of those who paved the way for us. 

The Duncanville Multicultural Social Engagement Partnership (MSEP) is a commission that serves under the City Council and is charged with:

  1. Establishing a partnership with the community to have the most engaged citizenry in America
  2. Develop an image as a family-oriented community locally and regionally
  3. Develop a brand for the community focusing on the goal of “Duncanville is the Basketball Capital of Texas” and leveraging this brand to enhance sports tourism
  4. Develop ways to engage citizens between 18-30 years of age to become more engaged in Duncanville
  5. Promote citizen participation and engagement in government; and to foster cooperative relationships among diverse citizens in order to fulfill the needs and desires and Duncanville’s diverse community