American Canyon residents turned out Friday night to celebrate Black History Month, with Ben Anderson honored for his pioneering role in the city’s incorporation.
An area resident since the early 1980s, Anderson participated in the petition drive to make American Canyon a city, then got elected to the first city council.
“Tonight is to celebrate the diverse community of American Canyon and help to bring together a strong African American community,” said Councilmember Kenneth Leary. “It’s important to acknowledge our history and those that came before us, so that we can encourage the next generation.”
Anderson, who is believed to be the first black councilmember in Napa County history, was recognized for his 14 years on the council and other contributions, said Nathell Buford, an organizer of the Black History Month event. He received a “trailblazer” award, she said.
Friday’s celebration is the first time that Black History Month was officially celebrated in American Canyon, according to Buford.
Because American Canyon prides itself on its ethnic diversity, Friday’s celebration at Umpqua Bank was also intended to embrace the city’s multi-cultural heritage, she said.
The Black History Month event follows a campaign to promote the placement of “We (heart) Everyone in American Canyon” signs on yards and businesses throughout town.
Register photographer Lisa James contributed to this report.