Longtime Springfield civil rights activist honored at Black History Month inaugural event

Hampden County

A stirring first day to Black History Month in Springfield. 

Former Springfield State Representative Ben Swan received the first annual Ruth Loving Legacy Award, named in honor of the Springfield civil rights pioneer who lived to be 100 and who counted Dr. Martin Luther King among her friends.

Swan a longtime civil rights advocate dating back to the 1960s, told 22News he ‘s humbled by this honor.

“It’s an honor, that’s the way I see it,” said Swan. “There were people who decided, let’s give it to Ben, that’s precious to me.”

Friday’s start to Black History Month included the raising of the Black Heritage Flag over Springfield City Hall.

Springfield State Representative Bud Williams and Mayor Domenic Sarno co-hosted the Black History Month inaugural event.

Williams said the students who immerse themselves in their school’s Black History Month programs come away with a specific impression.

“African Americans have made great contributions and when they recognize that, like they’ve contributed to the country,” said Williams.

The Black Heritage Flag will fly over city hall for the entire month of February, in honor of black history month.

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