Heritage Center Virtual Black History Program - February 24th

For Immediate Release:  February 15, 2022

Smithfield, NC -- The Black History Committee of the Johnston County Heritage Commission will honor local African American health care professionals through a virtual program on Thursday, February 24. The presentation will premiere on the Heritage Center’s YouTube channel (JohnstonNC Heritage) beginning at 7 pm.

“We planned to have an in-person event this year in the Reginald Ennis Pavilion,” said Pearl Blackmon, Committee Chairperson, “but the resurgence of coronavirus has forced us to go virtual once again. She added, “The silver lining is that we will now have a video that can be viewed for years to come.”


Mariyln Pearson MD


Dr. Marilyn Pearson, Johnston County’s Public Health Director, will be the keynote speaker. She received her Bachelor of Science Degree from Clemson University and her M.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  She completed her Internship and Residency in Family Medicine at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, NC. She has worked with the Johnston County Health Department since 1998 and has served as Director since 2005. She serves on many county and state boards and committees and serves as Congressional District 7 Representative for NC Medicaid Medical Care Advisory Committee.  In January of 2015, she was named North Carolina Health Director of the Year.


Lucille Raiford Jones 

Smithfield native Lucille Raiford Jones of Bronx, NY, will receive special recognition as one of the first African American nurses at Johnston Memorial Hospital when it opened in 1951. Since the mid-1950s, Jones has lived in New York, where she became a Charge Nurse at Maimonides Hospital in Brooklyn. She later joined the staff of Mt. Sinai Hospital in East Harlem (Borough of Manhattan), where she supervised Recovery Room nursing staff.


For further information, call the Heritage Center at 919-934-2836, or visit the Center’s website at www.jcheritagecenter.org, or Facebook page, www.facebook.com/jocoheritage.  





Page last updated:  February 15, 2022