Alumnus Receives High Honor for His MLK Advocacy Work

News Date
Dr. Herny Terry

By Hazel Scott/ASU

Elba native and Alabama State University alumnus Dr. Henry Terry received a special recognition during a program honoring the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The Community Awareness Organization of Enterprise, Alabama honored Terry for his foresight in founding the organization 34 years ago and his continuous works through the organization. His inspiration  behind the organization – to  initiate the first citywide Martin Luther King celebration in Enterprise.  

That celebration is now an established event in Enterprise, which is hosted by the Community Awareness Organization.

“I was very surprised and overwhelmed when they recognized me,” said the humbled recipient. 

Terry’s contributions to the city of Enterprise were recognized through a proclamation read in his honor by Mayor William Cooper.  Cooper, President of the Coffee County Chapter of ASU’s National Alumni Association, also presented Terry with  a gold “Key to the City.”

"I’m proud to be able to present something to someone that you know what they went through to get where they are. I watched Henry grow up in the field of music.  I remember him starting out on the piano and when he got older, playing for different churches and other organizations… He is very humble and everybody just loves him.   I am very proud of honoring him with the proclamation,” Cooper said. “I’m very supportive of Henry....He is a  game changer and a great maestro.”

The proclamation declared one day in February as Dr. Henry H. Terry Day for the city.

Terry, choral director at George Washington Carver High School in Montgomery,  was also acknowledged for organizing and directing the city’s first King Mass Choir, which performed at the event.

An  ASU College of Visual and Performing Arts graduate who has been teaching music for 33 years, Terry is a strong advocate of using music as an educational tool.

“I continue to use music to inspire students. I try to select music that will give a positive message about life, about being a more productive citizen, and about paying things forward.  I want my students  to appreciate the shoulders that they stand on.  Someone made sacrifices so they can have the opportunity they have today. So, I try to find music to inspire students to reach their goals,” Terry explained.

He credits his success to his college professor at ASU.

“Dr. Kay Pace, who is retired now, was very instrumental in molding me and directing me in this field. She felt that there was a calling on my life to be a choral director.  She changed every facet of my music, church, professional and personal life,” he said.

Terry pointed out that teaching is a rewarding experience.

“Being a teacher means you help enrich children’s lives…Nothing makes a teacher prouder than seeing their students succeed, knowing they have helped give kids the skills they need for the future in whatever their field," he added.

Terry has a lifetime of advocacy work to support the values inherited from his mother, the late Annie J. Terry, and Dr. Pace. 

"Like my mom and Dr. Pace, I hope to help mold my students to become game changers.You’re never too young. Change begins with the first steps," he said.