Photo of County Executive and Freeholders celebrate Black History MonthFull size photo

Photo, from left: County Executive Brian Hughes, James Stevenson, Betty Coles, Harry Watkins.

Contact: Julie Willmot
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TRENTON, N.J.-Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes and members of the Mercer County Board of Chosen Freeholders hosted a celebration of Black History Month today in Room 211 of the County Administration Building.

Hughes and the Freeholders presented awards to Betty Coles, Harry Watkins, and James Stevenson, all longtime residents of the Trenton area who have made great strides in improving education for young people in Mercer County.

"Their stories speak for themselves about the many ways in which black Americans have made this County a better place not only to live, but also to learn," Hughes said.

Ms. Coles devoted her entire career to education in the Trenton Public School System and now serves as both a volunteer and Board member at the Carver Center. Mr. Watkins became the first black court clerk in Mercer County and went on to serve many years as Municipal Court Division Manager before retiring to a life of educational activism. Mr. Stevenson managed community relations for the state Department of Transportation for 25 years, then worked as a policy advisor for State Senator Francis J. McManimon for another 15 before founding a consulting firm to fund construction of new schools.