HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - The 28th doesn't just mark the end of February, it marks the end of Black History Month as well.
Oakwood University closed out the month by highlighting the importance of representation and culture in the city's community.
Judge Greg Mathis, TV court judge and retired Detroit-area district court judge, was the keynote speaker. He said this month is dedicated to how far African-Americans have come.
"We're commemorating 400 years of our arrival as slaves here in the United States. Yet, 53 years ago is when we got our right to vote," explained Mathis. "Forty-three years after getting that right to vote, we elected the first African-American president."
Mathis said young people should remember to be proud of their roots and remain unapologetically themselves. "That's what alienates many young people from reaching the higher levels of life. They think they're going to have to change who they are as a person. You don't!"
Oakwood University faculty and students honored two Huntsville police officers at the event.
Captain JesHenry Malone, who also serves as the Madison County Commissioner in District 6, was honored for his service and leadership within the community.
Deputy Chief Corey Harris of the Huntsville Police Department was recognized as well.
Malone said studying culture and history is crucial. "You really can't make it in this world without a trained mind. In order to train your mind, you have to educate yourself. And in order to understand where you're going, you have to know from whence you've come."
That, Malone said, is the essence of why community members should continue to educate themselves.