NPR News for Central and Northern Michigan
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

40th Annual GIANT Awards celebrates history of black leadership


“40 years ago, no one thought that black leadership in Grand Rapids was newsworthy.”

As GIANT committee member and historian Temperance Mann tells the story…

“Dr. Patricia Pulliam and Mr. Cedric Ward decided with a bunch of their friends, that was going to stop. And they started the GIANTS.

Grand Rapids Community College has hosted the event since 1983. Saturday evening marked the awards 40th Anniversary.

“The goal was to bring as many GIANTS back as possible. This was not the typical event that we had always had where we named 11 GIANTS and then a GIANT Upon GIANTS. What we did, we called it The Legacy. You know, if you looked at every category, and realized what that particular group did to enhance, not just the Black community, but the City of Grand Rapids overall, it really was staggering.”

Dr. Pulliam and the late Cedric Ward were honored with the first Legacy Awards. Tempy Mann relaying Dr. Pulliam’s message to the audience.

“To pull someone along. To build someone up. To make things better for those in our, the African American community, but what it’s going to do is it’s going to enhance the city overall.”

A message of servant leadership. Improving the quality of life in Grand Rapids.