Three Chicot County residents were the recipients of community service awards at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Awards Ceremony in Lake Village.
Jewel Grant received the Evangeline K. Brown Community Service Award while Don Glover and Laurie Black received MLK, Jr. Community Service awards.
Evangeline K. Brown Community Service Award Recipient
Grant was the first in her family to attend and graduate college. In 1968, she earned a BS in Elementary Education from AM&N College, now the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff, and a M.Ed. in Elementary Education from the University of Arkansas in 1984. An advocate for educational achievement, Grant continued her graduate and postgraduate studies, stopping hours short of a Master’s Degree in Elementary Administration. She continually uses her talents to inspire others to achieve their goals. She assisted other family members to become a part of the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff and he University of Arkansas System. Her career has been characterized a commitment to education. It includes more than 30 years in the Dermott School District, Elementary and Early Childhood Education for the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, the Arkansas Department of Human Services of Child Care and Early Childhood Education, and the Foster Grandparent Program. Her affiliation with youth programs includes: founder and organizer of Mentoring Group K-6 Grades, My Buddy/Lil Sister, Parent Liaison for Dermott Special Schools, Dermott Ram Busters, Pee-Wee Cheerleaders and Dance (Tiger and Rams), and Head of the Class Child Childcare of Monticello trainer and volunteer. As a member of Dermott PTA Association, National and Arkansas Educational Associations, Grant has always been committed to doing her best. Those who know and have worked with her describe her as a humble, supportive, and knowledgeable person, with the ability to listen and connect to everyone she meets. A recipient of many accolades for her work in education and the community, Grant derives a great joy from inspiring young women, like her daughter, Ebony and her granddaughter, D’Essence (both educators), letting them know that through education, integrity, support, family, and friends, anything is possible. Despite long-term health challenges, Grant’s strength, curious mind, and flexible nature have given her amazing woman-staying power to serve her family, church, and community for a lifetime.
Don E. Glover
MLK, Jr. Community Service Award Recipient
Retired Judge Don Glover served as Circuit Judge for the 10th Judicial District, representing Ashley, Bradley, Chicot, Desha, and Drew counties from 1993 until his retirement on December 31, 2016. He was first elected to public office as Municipal Judge for the City of Dermott in 1986. Glover spent many years practicing law in three states, Arkansas, Louisiana, as well as Oklahoma. Since retirement, he has traveled the state hearing cases as a special judge appointed by the Arkansas Supreme Court. A native of Dermott and lifelong resident of Chicot County, Glover graduated with a degree in Business Administration in 1965 from AM&N College (now University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff) where he was honored in 2014 as a Distinguished Alumnus. Glover first demonstrated his commitment to public service after college when he served as a Peace Corps volunteer in South America from 19651967. He continued his public service and demonstrated his love of his country serving in the United States Army from 1967-1970, including a tour of duty in Vietnam. His commitment to service led him to enter law school at Howard University, where he graduated with a Juris Doctorate degree in 1973. He serves on the Board of Directors for the York W. Williams, Jr. Child Development Center, Inc., with offices in Dumas, Dermott, and Eudora. He also serves on the Board of Mainline Health Systems, Inc., which provides health care services to residents in District 11. He is a leader in various other community capacities including, deacon, treasurer, and Sunday school superintendent at his church, and co-chair of the Combined Churches Vacation Bible School in Dermott. A passionate proponent of education, Glover was one of the organizers of the spring break feeding and learning program for children and youth. He supports local nonprofit organizations that give students access to college readiness and summer camp experiential learning. Glover has a strong commitment to giving back to his community for the public good. He and his family donated property to the City of Dermott giving the residents, visitors and neighboring communities a place to enjoy outdoor recreation at Glover Park. Glover manages his family’s farms in Chicot and Drew counties. He and his wife of 40 years, Dorothy, have two children, Dorcedar and Doven.
MLK, Jr. Community Service Award Recipient
Laurie Black was born in Little Rock, but was raised and educated in the Dumas area. After graduating from Dumas High School, Black attended various colleges, including Marymount College in Arlington, Virginia; Schiller College in London, England; the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff; and the University of Arkansas at Monticello. She received her undergraduate degree from William Woods College for Women in Fulton, Missouri. Her passion for children and youth led her to obtain her Masters of Education in special education from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. Black taught in the public schools in Dumas and Lake Village. Her commitment to ensuring that every child received the highest quality of education was observed by school administrators, colleagues, parents, and students. She was lauded for her staunch commitment to diversity and her consistent advocacy for children, youth, and families from all socio-economic backgrounds. Black’s work in the community and throughout the state has not gone unnoticed. She has proven her unwavering benevolence with many civic causes and initiatives. She has served on numerous commissions and boards including, the Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission, since 2000; the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion Association; the Arkansas Teacher’s Corps Board at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and the Southeast Arkansas Regional Library Board. She is a benefactor of the nonprofit organization, Delta Center Stage (DCS). DCS is a theater group serving the Delta Region by providing dancing, singing and performing arts education and opportunities to people of all ages, economic levels, races, and religions by bringing them together to work towards common goals. She is proud to be associated with the incredible opportunities that DCS provides for all young children to develop and explore their creative talents. Black is a member of the Lake Village Garden Club; Hiway Garden Club of Dumas; the Arkansas Federation of Garden Clubs; and has served several terms as the Southeast District Director over all the garden clubs in the Delta Region. For many years, she volunteered with Teach For America to help teachers new to the Delta region experience a seamless transition to the area. Her efforts with Teach For America created an inviting environment for these novice teachers by providing encouragement, mentoring, meals, and any assistance they required to have a successful school experience to become acclimated to the area. Her volunteerism has enabled her to leverage resources with supporters such as actor Morgan Freeman during his involvement with Teach For America. Black’s unwavering support for nonprofit organizations demonstrates her stalwart loyalty to philanthropic endeavors and humanitarian charities. Her generosity to many deserving causes in the Arkansas Delta and nationally is close to her, namely: the Salvation Army, Special Olympics, Samaritans Purse, Alex Foundation, and Campus Students for Christ Ministry at Western Illinois University. She is a member of Lakeside United Methodist Church but also regularly attends worship services at Faith Fellowship Church and New Beginnings Church. She says one church cannot contain her faith. Black is the mother of three adult children, Laura Lea, Frederick, Jr., and Salee.
In his keynote address, Delta Rhythm and Bayous Alliance executive director Jimmy Cunningham spoke to the audience about artists from the Delta who have made their mark in the music and entertainment industry, namely: Charlie Patton (Dermott), one of the father of the blues who innovated his musical style between Arkansas and Mississippi; Willie Warren (Lake Village), the first person to popularize the electric bass; Eddie “Guitar Slim” Jones (Lake Village) taught by Willie Warren and had million selling songs; Dewey Corley (Halley), a legendary jug band leader who was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame; and Gail Davis (McGehee), a country western singer who was the first TV heroine, Annie Oakley.