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Houston FBI Celebrates Black Heritage

The Houston division of the FBI continues its annual tradition of celebrating Black History Month. A luncheon featured a keynote from the only African American magistrate judge in Texas in more than 150 years. Houston Public Radio’s Pat Hernandez has the story.

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The event was attended by a who’s who of prominent African Americans in local law enforcement and the judiciary. Bureau Special Agent Al Tribble says it was put together by a committee of fellow agents.

“With all the investigative responsibilities and work responsibilities that we have, we kind of put together the committee at the last moment. So we just wanted to come up with a program that would inspire and enrich everyone that was in attendance.”

He says they didn’t have a lot of time in which to deliver.

“Basically, the goals of the committee are to put together a program that’s going to pay tribute, pay homage to the accomplishments of African Americans to kind of dignify the accomplishments and re-live some history and re-teach some history that will hope to inspire others to go out and teach and do great things.”

Houston Special Agent in Charge Andrew Bland says he never wanted a handout just because he was an African American.

“When they look at me, they shouldn’t see color. They should look and see someone who they will entrust…you know, their future…and someone they will entrust their talents and their skills, and give me the opportunity to provide the direction and guidance that they need to get the job done.”

Keynote speaker U.S. Magistrate Calvin Botley discussed the importance of black heritage in America.

“As a judge, I try to visit, speak to, fellowship with organizations during Black History Month because it’s so important. It’s so important that they see people who have been through it, who’ve live it, who can appreciate how society is changing.”
      
He noted that things we take for granted, like traffic lights, the ironing board, golf tee and the zipper, were invented by African Americans.

“People invent things out of neccesity. Who had the greater neccesity? Were the slaves, were the African Americans. They were doing the work at the lower level. They had the need to make their lives a little better. And so they used their ingenuity to find ways in which to be able to extend their lives, to live longer, to work less harder.”

Judge Botley concluded his keynote with a poem he wrote titled “Looking Into the Mirror of Reality,” that you have to be yourself and like what you see.

“Nothing more, just me. For I’ve looked into the mirror or reality and thank God I’m proud of what I see. And if I saw something less than that, I would know I have a lot of work left to do.”
    

Pat Hernandez, Houston Public Radio News.

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