DOVER, Del. (CBS) — February is Black History Month and all month long, we have been introducing you to people making a difference, unsung heroes. Thanks to a dedicated community member and his staff in the state capital of Delaware, young people are finding out that the rhythm and heartbeat of Black history are alive and well.
Reuben Salters, a long-time resident of Dover, has been beating the drum for the Sankofa Cultural Arts Center and its mission of highlighting the historical imagery of African American contributions to the state of Delaware and around the nation.READ MORE: Lower Moreland Will Not Mandate Masks In Schools After Tense Community Meeting
“We do this every day,” Salters said. “Not just during the month of February. Every month is Black History Month to us and our kids.”
Kids, the future, the goal of this Salters family dream-come-true building is to teach the kids to “become all you can be.”
Which I took to heart as a child growing up around this soon-to-be-93-year-old community pillar and friend. He was talking to a producer and had no idea I was coming to see him.”
A tight hug — that’s what Salters has on many of the young people in the city of Dover and in his own words, he told me why.
“It’s important for future generations to know who they are,” Salters said. “We see so much news that’s negative. Somebody was killed over here, the drug dealer got arrested. You’ve got to have the discipline and the teaching and we just sort of nurture them along. We have an after-school program here now. We pick the kids up from school, bring them right here, keep them until their parents pick them up.”
It’s a safe haven of after-school programs where they come to study their lessons and where they come to dance on their own, or as members of the performing Sankofa dance troupe.READ MORE: 15-Year-Old In Critical Condition, 2 Other Teens Injured In Triple Shooting Outside Simon Gratz High School: Police
Sankofa derives from West Africa. It’s represented by a mythical bird flying forward with its head turned backward.
“It means return to your roots, go back to your past, bring forth those great things,” Salters said.
And he’s now applying it to the present and future of these young children. When he was much younger, Salters was a founding member of the Dover chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, the same national organization that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. belonged to.
Dr. King who said “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'”
“What that statement means to me is, trying to uplift other people,” Salters said.
Which he continues to do after all these years, especially through his annual African American summer festival for all to experience.
So what about his legacy, what does he want people to say about him, oh, 93 years from now?MORE NEWS: Dave McCormick Sues Over Counting Mail Ballots In Pennsylvania Republican Senate Race
“I want the community to say, ‘Well, Reuben, Reuben, did OK,” Salters said.