Cass County commissioners recognize Black History Month

Published 7:40 am Friday, February 5, 2021

CASSOPOLIS — This month, elected officials are celebrating the history and legacy of Cass County’s African American residents.

Thursday evening, the Cass County Board of Commissioners met for its regularly scheduled meeting over Zoom. Among an agenda filled with routine business and presentations, the board also approved an annual resolution — to recognize February as Black History Month.

Black History Month was first recognized as a national celebration in 1976 by then-President Gerald Ford. For years, Cass County has passed a resolution celebrating February as Black History Month to recognize the county’s more than 4,000 African American residents.

According to the resolution passed by commissioners, Black History Month is a time for Cass County residents to reflect on the role African American history played in forming the county’s identity. In the 1800s, Cass County served as a station on the Underground Railroad, and Civil War-era Quakers welcomed escaped and freed slaves with grants of land, many of which are still owned by descendants of the original owners. Annually, the Underground Railroad, as well as the repelling of the Kentucky Raiders, is an important celebration in the county.

“Therefore, be it resolved the Cass County Board of Commissioners upholds and endorses February as Black History Month, and encourages all members of the community to participate in events surrounding Black History Month and to celebrate all of our heritage in Cass County,” said Commissioner Jeremiah Jones reading the resolution.

The resolution was passed by a unanimous vote.

In other business:

  • County Administrator Jeff Carmen reported the county had received a certificate of excellence from the government finance officer for last year’s audit and financial report.

“We are particularly proud of that,” Carmen said.

  • Cass County Animal Control Director Ron Butts reminded commissioners that animal control, 323 M-62, Cassopolis, will be hosting a rabies vaccination clinic from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 20. The clinic will offer one- and three-year rabies vaccinations in addition to five-way vaccinations. Cost is $20 per shot.

Previously, animal control hosted a vaccination clinic on Jan. 23. Butts called the event, which is a partnership with Bergman Veterinary Medical Center, a success. In the four-hour clinic, animal control vaccinated 81 dogs. Already, Butts said the February clinic is shaping up to be just as successful, with 60 pet owners currently signed up. To reserve a vaccination appointment, call animal control at (269) 445-3701.

“Anyone that is in need, please don’t wait,” Butts said. “Give us a call.”

Also during the meeting, the board approved the following appointments to county boards and positions:

  • The board approved a motion to appoint Jeremiah Jones to the Area Agency on Aging for a two-year term ending on Dec. 31, 2022.
  • The board approved a motion to appoint Jeremiah Jones to the SWMBH/Substance Abuse Disorder Oversight Policy Board for a three-year term ending Dec. 31, 2023.
  • The board approved a motion to appoint Joseph Ryan to the Woodlands Board to an unexpired term ending Dec. 31, 2023.