‘It Started at the Church’ panel-led discussion to be hosted by Monday Night Alive

Published 4:11 pm Friday, March 15, 2024

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Monday Night Alive (MNA), a community-based tutoring service which operates out of the Roanoke Island Community Building (RICB), is hosting a panel-led discussion, “It Started at the Church,” on March 17 at 3 p.m. Guests will hear from individuals of several generations who had attended Roanoke School, a once all-black school which operated out of RICB. Topics such as education, economics and growing up in the church are on the table for discussion during this highly anticipated event.

Betty Selby has been the director of MNA for 22 years. Originally founded by Naomi Hester, Nancy Griffin, Dale Collins and Virginia Tillett, this program aims to serve students all across Dare County. Selby was excited to announce a few panel members that will be present for the March 17 discussion, including panelist Delroy Bowser, Ethel Bowser, plus more. “Our discussion will start with how it all started in black church,” Selby shared. It was expected that church was attended regularly, starting with service and ending with a 5 p.m. youth bible study. Along with homemade coconut cake, Ms. Mary Tillett’s specialty, Selby recalls memorizing the 10 commandments and beatitudes as a necessary part of life.

“We’ll also talk about education: Who the teachers were, how we had sports teams and how we actually got jerseys, and we’ll talk about the books we had to read with pages torn out of them.” Economics will come into play with regard to how members of the black community of Roanoke Island were able to make a living. Selby hopes to facilitate a controlled panel discussion, and intends for the event to run for an hour and a half.

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MNA is a tutoring service available for everyone, regardless of income, race or religion. Sessions are held every Monday night that school is in session, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 723 Sir Walter Raleigh Street in Manteo. For those interested in learning more about MNA, visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/Mondaynightalive/.