Daily Star photo/AARON MUELLER Community members sing during the Niles Black History program Thursday at Franklin AME Church in Niles.

Archived Story

Local black women honored

Published 5:50pm Friday, February 24, 2012

Local black women, involved in business, government and faith communities, were honored Thursday at the  annual Niles Black History Month program at Franklin AME Church.

One of those women, Lauren Outlaw, a doctor at Elkhart General Hospital was the guest speaker and talked about her journey through the academic world as a young, black woman.

Outlaw, a South Bend native and cousin of event organizer Lisa Busby, read the poem “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou.

Outlaw said she was often the “only girl in class with brown skin” at the prestigious private school she attended in South Bend.

“I had to rise above the teasing of being called a (n-word) or being asked why I had brown skin out of ignorance,” she said.
But Outlaw also pointed out that sometimes “those who look most like you work the hardest to bring you down.”

She said many of her African-American classmates would tease her for her intelligence and doing well in school.

“Intelligence is not something to be ashamed of,” she told the group of about 35.

“Even today we see a mentality in our generation that we aren’t smart and can’t be great.”

Outlaw says even in her current job as an obstetrician, she runs into patients who don’t want them to treat her because of her race, gender or age.

But she encouraged the audience to take the “Still I Rise” poem to heart and rise above problems and “be great.”

The event also featured music, prayer and black history trivia.

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