For Meridian native Calvin Jenkins Sr., 82, cutting hair has been a trade he's known for the last 58 years.
What he didn't know was the impact he has had on his community.
Jenkins is one of 11 people who will be recognized Saturday night at the Temple Theater as part of the 2019 Trailblazer Awards for their efforts in the Meridian community. The award ceremony, which is its second year, will honor business owners, civil rights leaders, pastors, youth leaders and gospel singers.
“It feels good because it is something that I wasn’t expecting,” Jenkins said.
Other honorees are the late Bobby McWilliams, a gospel singer, Pastor Marvin and Lynn D. Davis, The Traveling Echos, Judge Veldore Young Graham, civil rights leader Charles Johnson, James Carter from the Carter Foundation, Felicia Brown from Divas on a Run, Sam Dabit from Sam’s Fashions, the world powerlifting champion LaToya Atterberry and the late church first lady Margaret Brown.
Jenkins said over the years he has tried to impress others in the community to believe in themselves, foster family support and have faith in God. Jenkins, who said he plans to cut hair for as long as he can, noted there is a lot of good going on in Meridian but people have to believe it.
Bishop William Brown said his late wife, first lady Margaret Brown, was known for wearing hats, being a business owner and being a mentor to the youth. Brown said he knows his wife's impact has had a lasting effect on the community.
“I think she deserves the honor and recognition,” he said. “She loved Meridian and worked hard.”
Margaret Brown owned Wigs and Lady’s Apparel Boutique and also was involved in civil rights work and helped to create the Martin Luther King Jr. Parade. Brown said his wife's impact on the youth still can be felt in the community.
“Many young ladies would tell you that she was a role model,” Brown said.
Charles Johnson, pastor of Fitkins Memorial Church of the Nazarene, said he is humbled. He said he didn’t think he would have an impact when he arrived Meridian in 1961.
Johnson founded the Meridian Action Committee, a local civil rights group that helped to desegregate lunch counters, restaurants, movies theaters, helped to break down barriers in the hiring practices at local business, address police brutality and helped to create a job training program to make it possible for blacks to work in banks and corporate offices in Meridian.
Johnson said he hopes his story will inspire young people.
He wants them to know, “You are making a difference and that you are somebody.”
Terrance Davis, CEO of Mohiz Ent. and organizer of the Trailblazer Awards said he wanted to have something that would honor people on the local level for the impact they have made in the community. Davis said he wants to shine light on positive representation in the community.
“I think this is something that will take over all the negativity," Davis said.
Hee hopes that younger generations will look at the trailblazers and continue to do positive things in the community and maybe become famous.
“It’s like me coming out of Meridian and performing at the Temple Theater and performing for MC Hammer, and the next thing, he was like, 'I want to take you to California and sign you,' ” Davis said.
Davis said it is the role of the community to make sure the legacy of the trailblazers is told to the youth so their stories are not forgotten.
"We are just trying to pin flowers and honors on those who have been doing the work and for the community to recognize who those people are," Davis said.