TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) -- A Tupelo church honored three prominent members of the medical profession, a longtime educator and civic leader and an up-and-coming student Sunday afternoon.
The People's Community Baptist Church in Tupelo held what was called a Celebration of African Americans: Celebrating Life, Music and Culture.
Around the sanctuary were displays of prominent African-American professionals, most of whom were honored Sunday afternoon.
Dr. James H. Neely is one of the first African-American physicians in the city of Tupelo.
Registered physical therapist Charles Bouldin was the first African American to graduate as an RPT in the state of Mississippi.
Tupelo physician Dr. Norris Crump, who practices internal medicine, was also honored.
Rev. Robert Jamison is the pastor at People's Community and the first African-American executive director of Lift Inc.
They also honored Deandre Lewis, a Tupelo High School student, who is making a name for himself and has a message of his own.
"Be focused. If you have a goal, stay focused on that goal and strive to be the best you can be," said Lewis.
There were five people honored on Sunday: three doctors, an educator and a student.
All of them came from different walks of life, all of them came at various times in Mississippi's history.
They all have one thing in common, though: a willingness to achieve.
"I wanted to come back to the state of Mississippi to practice when I went to medical school," Dr. James H. Neely said. "It wasn't anything new that I had to learn coming back to the state. And I knew the type people that I wanted to treat when I came back. It was a matter of getting into what I wanted to do with my life's work."
"Things have come a long way," said Charles Bouldin, a physical therapist. "There's been a lot of changes. There's been a lot of things to happen to bring about that. I stand on the shoulders of a lot of good people: Dr. Crump, Dr. Neely [and] a lot of people who helped pave the way for me to get to and finish the things that I've accomplished."
"I see a whole flu of doctors coming out in the next few years," said Rev. Robert Jamison. "[And it's] because we have some children that know how to go to school and what to accomplish in school."
Organizers say they hope the event will inspire more young people to achieve their goals.
A choir from Rust College was featured during Sunday's program.