Louis Diggs Award

Jake Oliver, Tim Tooten and Verletta White Honored With Louis S. Diggs Award

The 2018 recipients of the Louis S. Diggs Award were recognized in a Feb. 5 ceremony to celebrate Baltimore County’s African-American heritage at the Owings Mills Public Library. More than 100 community members attended the third annual program.

County Executive Kevin Kamenetz presented awards to three recipients, including Jake Oliver, publisher of the AFRO-American Newspaper since 1982. Founded in 1892, The Afro is the longest-running family-owned newspaper in the nation and covered news from post-slavery to desegregation to present-day issues.

Tim Tooten, WBAL-TV’s education reporter and pastor of Harvest Christian Ministries in Perry Hall, also was recognized. The Emmy-award winning journalist received the National Headliner Award for his “Africa’s Maryland” documentary, which earned him a National Edward Murrow award.

Baltimore County Public Schools Interim Superintendent Verletta White also received the award. White is the first woman to lead the 113,000-student county school system. After starting her career in 1992 as a Baltimore City classroom teacher, White transitioned to a teaching position in the county before coming a principal and rising through the senior-level and executive ranks. Her entire education has been in county public schools.

“I am proud to recognize these outstanding individuals whose life work represents a commitment to the celebration of the African-American experience in Baltimore County, and whose accomplishments inspire others to strive for success,” Kamenetz said.

Kamenetz created the annual award in 2016 to recognize individuals who demonstrate a commitment to promoting African-American history and culture in Baltimore County.

The award is named in honor of local historian and lecturer, Louis S. Diggs, who has researched and published numerous local history books and is president of the Diggs-Johnson Museum in Granite.

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