Genesee District Library Presents 2023 Black History Month Honorees


On February 4, the Genesee District Library hosted its 22nd Annual Black History Month Brunch at Genesys Conference & Banquet Center. The special celebration recognized the 2023 Black History Month Honorees – community notables including three inspiring individuals and one organization selected by the Black History Month Brunch Advisory Committee.

The GDL is proud to recognize the contributions of the 2023 honorees.

Award of Excellence

Norm Bryant

Founder and former owner of the Historic Bryant’s Barber Shop in Flint, Norm Bryant also founded the Greater Flint African American Sports Hall of Fame in 1983 and served a ten-year term as its first president. In 1995 he became an inductee, recognized for his achievements in football and track at Flint Northern High School. He was also inducted into the Greater Flint Area Sports Hall of Fame in 2005.

As a community servant, Bryant held a seat on the Flint School Board from 1991-1997 (two years as president) and was appointed the first Black chairman of the Genesee County Building Authority. He was chairman of Salem Lutheran Church Council and also appointed to represent Lutheran Social Service of Michigan to do missionary work in Africa (Tanzania and Zimbabwe). He ran for Mayor of Flint in 2007.

Recognized with multiple awards, Bryant’s honors include: Liberty Bell Award (1997); Frederick Douglass Award (1999); City of Flint Legends Award (2002) and Mott-Manley Distinguished Service Award (2006).

Married to his wife Kay for 65 years, the couple has four daughters, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Photo By Katy Kildee

Shane Jackson, CHHC, BSCJ, MSCJ

Benjamin Franklin once said, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I will learn.” This is one of the quotes Shane Jackson follows to help educate and inspire youth and adults on the subject of nutrition. A professional nutrition specialist with a vast scope of experience based in Flint, Jackson is a multi-skilled and diversely talented professional with a strong inclination toward self-improvement, human psychology and overall personal health.

Born in Helena, AR and raised in Flint, Jackson has an extensive background in nursing as well as a Master’s Degree in Social Sciences and Criminal Justice from Michigan State University. Her interest in nutrition and mental health pushed her to pursue her PhD in criminal justice which led to exploration of the impact nutrition has on criminal behavior among youth and adults. Over the years, she has earned a long list of additional degrees and certifications.

Currently, Jackson is a Community Nutrition Instructor at Michigan State University and has authored her first children’s book, Rainbow Power, soon to be released. She is also a mother and motivational speaker.

Signature Portrait Studio

Sergeant Tanya Meeks, Flint Police Department

Born in Smackover, AR Tanya (Ross) Meeks was raised in a small town and brought up in a small Baptist church where she sang in the choir. She graduated from Smackover High School in 1982. Aspiring to be a beautician, a secretary or a police officer, she attended a vocational school for secretarial classes.

In 1984, Meeks came to Flint to visit relatives and decided to stay and become a Michigander. For 11 years, she was employed by UAW-GM Legal Services and then for a short time, the 68th District Court. Realizing that police work was her real passion, she applied for the Flint Police Academy, graduated in the Class of 11-98 and was assigned to Community Policing at Flint’s Northside Precinct. She then decided to pursue a degree in Criminal Justice at Mott Community College, graduating in 2003.

Meeks became coordinator for Flint Area Crime Stoppers, as well as continuing her work in Community Policing. In 2014, she was assigned as Crime Prevention Officer working with numerous Flint residents, block clubs, crime watch, community groups and businesses. When the police volunteer program was redesigned, she became coordinator of the Blue Badge Volunteer Corps, the service centers and other special projects. In May 2015, Meeks was promoted to the rank of sergeant and received her first assignment – supervising the Youth Services Division overseeing all school liaison officers, missing persons’ cases and the PAL program. In 2016, Sgt. Meeks was transferred to the Patrol Division assigned as a Road Patrol Supervisor and in 2018, received her current assignment in the Detective Bureau investigating Child Abuse and Child Sex crimes.

Married to Mark (Tony) Meeks, the couple has been blessed with two daughters and six grandchildren. Her hobbies include cooking, gardening, camping and fishing. Among her passions are her Christian faith, her family and traveling to Arkansas to be with her mom and dad.

Partner in Progress Award

Ronald S. Brown, Executive Director

Flint Odyssey House, Inc.

Flint Odyssey House, Inc. (FOH) provides a full continuum of Substance Abuse Disorder services for adults and adolescents and has fostered the development of Specialized Employment Services, Inc. providing job-readiness training for hard-to-place individuals.

FOH was born in 1987 from the ashes of the bankrupt Rubicon Odyssey House Program (ROH). Led by 1979 ROH graduate Ronald S. Brown, the venture consisted of two houses, a part-time nurse, 15 former ROH clients, $300 in food stamps and the debt incurred by ROH. Since then, Flint Odyssey has evolved into a nationally recognized exemplary substance abuse treatment organization that has set the standards for Women’s Specialty Programming since 1992.

Operating treatment sites in Flint, Saginaw and Port Huron, the FOH continuum of care includes two residential programs (Flint and Saginaw Odyssey Houses), a nationally recognized Health Awareness Center, Withdrawal Management Services (detox), Adolescent Outpatient Treatment, Adult Outpatient, Recovery Housing, Youth Prevention, Mobile Opiate Response Team (MORT) street outreach and the 24/7 Dad® fatherhood program. FOH provides services to over 3,000 people annually.


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