2024 Black History Month Celebration:                            Black Renaissance

The State of Missouri welcomes you to our 2024 Black History Month Celebration!

Thursday, February 15, 2024
10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Harry S. Truman Building – Room 490/492

It’s an honor to have you join us for this occasion, and we encourage you to share, use our hashtags, and invite a guest.

Honored Guests

Governor Parson

Michael L. Parson

57th Governor of Missouri

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Michael L. Parson was sworn in as Missouri’s 57th Governor on June 1, 2018. Governor Parson came into the role of Governor with a lifelong commitment to serving others and over 30 years of experience in public service. He previously served as the 47th Lieutenant Governor of Missouri from 2017–2018.  He is a United States Army veteran and former Sheriff of Polk County. Governor Parson also served in the Missouri House of Representatives from 2005–2011 and in the Missouri Senate from 2011–2017.

Under Governor Parson’s leadership, Missouri has experienced a booming economy, achieving the lowest unemployment rate ever recorded, high wage growth, tens of thousands of new jobs, and billions in business investment through public-private partnerships with the state. Governor Parson has cut taxes three times and signed the largest income tax cut in Missouri history.

From day one, workforce development and infrastructure have been the top priorities for Governor Parson. He and his administration have achieved historic bipartisan wins on both issues. Additionally, Governor Parson approved $2.8 billion to build six lanes across the entire I-70 corridor and make critical safety and efficiency upgrades. When he first became Governor, Missouri’s Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan was funded at $2.5 billion. Today, it totals more than $14 billion.

Governor Parson and First Lady Teresa Parson live in Bolivar. Together, they have two grown children, six grandchildren, and recently welcomed their first great grandchild. He was raised on a farm in Hickory County and graduated from Wheatland High School in Wheatland, Missouri. Governor Parson is a small business owner and a third-generation farmer who currently owns and operates a cow-calf operation near Bolivar. 

Mike Kehoe

Mike Kehoe

Lieutenant Governor of Missouri

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Mike Kehoe, Republican, was sworn in as Missouri’s 48th Lieutenant Governor on June 18, 2018, after being appointed to the position by Governor Mike Parson. He was elected by Missourians to a full term on November 3, 2020.

From very humble beginnings, through hard work, determination, and the influence of his mother and the help of his mentor, Kehoe went on to become a successful businessman, a husband, and a father, before running for office.

Kehoe was born and raised in North St. Louis City by a single mother of six children. His mother worked three jobs to support the family, while Kehoe and his siblings also went to work to help buy groceries and pay the bills. At 15, Kehoe started washing cars for Dave Sinclair Ford and worked his way into sales management by his early twenties.

When he was 25, Kehoe was tasked with moving to Linn, Missouri, to help revive a struggling van conversion and ambulance manufacturing company. Kehoe purchased the company, and during his time leading Osage Industries, he expanded sales across the nation and created dozens of new jobs.

In 1992, he purchased the Ford and Lincoln-Mercury franchises in Jefferson City, which he owned and operated as ‘Mike Kehoe Ford-Lincoln’ as one of the youngest Ford dealers in the nation until 2011.

In 2005, Kehoe was appointed by Governor Blunt to serve on the Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission, and in 2009 was elected chair.

In 2010, Kehoe was elected to the Missouri Senate to represent the Sixth Senatorial District covering seven mid-Missouri counties: Cole, Gasconade, Maries, Miller, Moniteau, Morgan and Osage. He was reelected in 2014 and served as the assistant majority floor leader and the majority floor leader.

As lieutenant governor, Kehoe serves as the ex officio president of the Missouri Senate and serves as the state’s advocate for seniors and veterans. He also oversees the Missouri Arts Council and the Buy Missouri Program, an economic development initiative created to actively promote Missouri manufacturers and businesses. Under his leadership, the Buy Missouri program has grown to more than 500 members.

As lieutenant governor, Kehoe is a member of several boards and commissions, including the Missouri Development Finance Board, the Missouri Housing Development Commission, and the Missouri Tourism Commission.

Lieutenant Governor Kehoe chairs the Missouri Food, Beverage, and Forest Manufacturing Products Task Force, working to promote and grow Missouri’s agriculture industry.

Mike has been honored by the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, the Missouri Association of Electric Cooperatives, and many others for his legislative accomplishments, including being named the Statesman of the Year Award for his work in the Missouri Senate as floor leader. As a businessman, he received the Time Magazine Quality Dealer Award, Ford’s President Award, and was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame.

Lieutenant Governor Kehoe and his wife, Claudia, have called mid-Missouri home for more than 30 years and are the proud parents of four children. Mike and Claudia are first-generation farmers with a beef cattle production business on the family farm in Phelps and Pulaski Counties. Lieutenant Governor Kehoe remains a small businessman at heart, never forgetting the lessons learned from years of hard work Dave Sinclair Ford, Osage Industries and Mike Kehoe Ford-Lincoln.

Keynote Speaker: Judge Robin Ransom

Judge Robin Ransom was born in July 1967 in the City of St. Louis, Missouri. She graduated from Rosati-Kain High School. She completed her undergraduate degree at Douglass College-Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, receiving her Bachelor of Arts in political science and sociology. Judge Ransom received her Juris Doctor from the University of Missouri–Columbia School of Law. 

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Following law school, she worked as an assistant public defender in the St. Louis County office from 1992-1995. She was assigned cases primarily in the Family Court – Juvenile Division. In the fall of 1995, she took a position as an assistant prosecuting attorney in the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. She remained in that position for a year. In October of 1996, she began working in the Family Court – Juvenile Division of the 21st Judicial Circuit Court (St. Louis County) as a staff attorney. In that role, she handled juvenile delinquency and care and protection cases which included termination of parental rights matters. 

Her judicial career began in 2002, when she was appointed as a Family Court Commissioner for the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court on Dec. 27, 2002. In that role, she presided over juvenile delinquency and care and protection cases, termination of parental rights matters, guardianships and adoptions. She served in that capacity until Sept. 11, 2008, when she was appointed by Gov. Matt Blunt as circuit judge in the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court (City of St. Louis).

Initially as a circuit judge, she was assigned to a general trial division from September – December of 2008. From January 2009 – December 2010, she was assigned to the Family Court presiding over contested divorces and motions to modify. Judge Ransom returned to a general trial division from January 2011 – December 2015. In January of 2016, she began serving as the Administrative Judge of the Family Court, overseeing all facets of the court’s operations both in the Juvenile and Domestic divisions. 

In September of 2016, she was unanimously elected by her peers to serve in the capacity of assistant presiding judge of the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court for the calendar years of 2017 and 2018. Then in September of 2018, she was again unanimously elected by her peers to serve as presiding judge of the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court for the calendar years of 2019 and 2020. After just a few weeks in the role of presiding judge, Judge Ransom was appointed by Gov. Mike Parson on Jan. 9, 2019, to the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District. On May 24, 2021, Gov. Parson appointed Judge Ransom to her current position as judge of the Supreme Court of Missouri.   

Judge Ransom is a member of The Missouri Bar and the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis (BAMSL). She is the recipient of the Theodore McMillian Service Award from the Black Law Students Association of Saint Louis University School of Law. She also in 2019 received a Women’s Justice Award for Public Service presented by Missouri Lawyers Media. In 2008 she received the Clarence Darrow Award from the Public Interest Group at Saint Louis University School of Law. Judge Ransom is also a frequent presenter to school groups and organizations interested in juvenile laws and juvenile justice. 

Judge Ransom was retained in the role of circuit judge in both 2010 and 2016. She was retained as a member of the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, in 2020. Her current term as a member of the Supreme Court expires Dec. 31, 2022.

Special Performance: Lincoln University Vocal Ensemble

LUVE is an auditioned ensemble of mixed voices comprised of both music majors and non-music majors from throughout the campus community. The group was founded in 1977 by Robert L. Mitchell, Sr., the Lincoln University Vocal Ensemble was given its present name in 1980. The size of the Ensemble has ranged from as few as eight members to more than forty. Whatever its size, LUVE has earned wide respect for the musical and emotive quality of its performance in a wide range of choral styles, including jazz, gospel, and spirituals.

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LUVE has performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, the national anthem at Busch Stadium in St. Louis for the Cardinals/Braves game, Jazz Festival in Jefferson City, and for Bishop Desmond Tutu’s appearance at the Missouri Episcopal Diocese Meeting in Chesterfield. They have sung on several occasions for state representatives and local television shows, also for events sponsored by the N.A.A.C.P., for C.U.R.E. (Christian United for Racial Equity), and MCDA. They have sponsored Collegiate Symposiums at various sites around the state. Recent travels have taken the LUVE to New York, Miami, Orlando, Atlanta, Washington D.C., Chicago, Indianapolis, Kentucky, Detroit, Kansas City, Memphis, and St. Louis. For most of its thirty-one years, the Vocal Ensemble has taken an extended spring tour, spreading the “gospel” of fine choral music across the United States.

What is a Honeycomb? A Honeycomb is a Harris-Stowe State University Majorette Dance Team that aims to collaborate as a productive student-based organization. Honeycombs is an outlet for young women who love various forms of dance. Our mission is to serve as a resource for dance expression, discipline, and class. Through this effort, we strive to enhance the University’s activities through the art of dance, while also serving the community.

                          “Dancing is enjoying the luxury of being you!”

History of Black History Month

The recognition of African Americans’ contribution to civilization started with Negro History Week in 1925 through the efforts of Carter G. Woodson. At mid-century, mayors of cities nationwide issued proclamations noting Negro History Week. The Black Awakening of the 1960s dramatically expanded the consciousness of African Americans about the importance of black history, and the Civil Rights movement focused Americans of all colors on the subject of the contributions of African Americans to our history and culture.

The celebration was expanded to a month in 1976, the nation’s bicentennial. President Gerald R. Ford urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” That year, fifty years after the first celebration, the association held the first African American History Month. By this time, the entire nation had come to recognize the importance of Black history in the drama of the American story. Since then each American president has issued African American History Month proclamations.