HARRELLS — Dr. Larry M. Bell captured the attention of senior citizens as he spoke about important historical moments and their contributions of making life better for everyone.
He recently visited the Harrell’s Community Center and Nutrition Site for their Black History Month program. Bell is the North Carolina Representative and served for nine terms and is a former educator, principal and superintendent for Sampson County Schools.
During his remarks, Bell spoke about his family history and background of growing up in Sampson County and overcoming challenges. After graduating from high school, he attended North Carolina A&T University and participated in the Greensboro sit-ins, one of many Civil Rights demonstrations throughout America. Bell met Dr. Martin Luther King and remembered his speech about progress.
“It’s still appropriate for this day and time,” Bell said. “We’ve made a lot of strides, but we still have a long way to go.”
Bell said his faith was always important when it came to overcoming obstacles. His goal was to become a teacher and later, he became the first black superintendent for the local school district.
He encouraged the senior citizens to stay active and pass their knowledge about life to younger generations and the challenges they had to face in the past. One of them was segregated facilities or restaurants where black people were not welcomed in the front door.
“They are standing on the shoulders because of what we’ve done in the past,” Bell said.
Bell is not seeking another term, but during his years as a legislator, he expressed how he always thought about his home county of Sampson whenever her made decisions.
“I tried to reflect on what the people back home would want me to do,” he said about the voters.
As a representative, Bell said he always supported senior centers and food banks.
“It’s important that we keep it going,” Bell said. “The nutrition sites are places where seniors can get together, talk and share ideas. It keeps them from just sitting down at home and feeling like they’re not needed anymore.”
Officials from the Harrells facility showed gratitude for his visit to the facility. Volunteer Lethia Lee said everyone is proud of his accomplishments and for serving people.
“He truly is a man of god and one that did not take life for granted,” Lee said. “We thank him for sharing with the seniors and all who attended the program.”
Other guests and participants included Harrells Mayor Pro Tem Katie Geer, Town Clerk Cindy Ezzell, Program Director Linda Armwood, Brenda Hayes, Charlotte Murphy and Harrells Community Center Director Russell Lee. Director Diane Cromartie also thanked workers Gloria Alford, Janie Maynor and Carolyn Tyler.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.