CHIPLEY - Go and be the change you want to see in the world - those were the words that Chipley Mayor Tracy Andrews spoke to the audience gathered at Chipley High School's Black History Month program on February 27 in honor of the month-long celebration.

The celebration of Black History Month began as “Negro History Week,” which was created in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson, a noted African American historian, scholar, educator, and publisher. It became a month-long celebration in 1976 by President Gerald Ford. The month of February was chosen to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.

The program showcased expressions of black culture, including, spoken word poetry, an interpretive dance, and a speech given by Chipley's first African-American council woman and now Mayor, Tracy Andrews.

Andrews is an alumni of Chipley High School Class of 1986 and says she feels blessed to have been invited back to speak.

"This is the first time I have been invited back to speak at my alma mater," said Andrews. "I feel so blessed and honored to be here."

Andrews said history is important because it can help make you a better person, a person who has a better understanding of the world and what has shaped it into what you see today.

"I know that a lot of people don't like history," said Andrews. "But history is what has shaped the world we live in today and learning it will help you to understand that and help to make you a better person. A person that understands the suffering, the joy and the chaos that was necessary for the present day to happen."

Andrews said the past is the key to the future.

"It is a fact that knowing the past is the key to opening doors in the future." said Andrews.

She challenged the students to look inside themselves in order to build a better world around them.

"If you want to be a game changer or make an impact in this community you must be the change," said Andrews. "Go and be the change you want to see in the world."