Celebrating Our People: Week 4

Celebrating Our People
Celebrating Our People(WTVY)
Published: Feb. 24, 2023 at 3:11 PM CST
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - News4 is celebrating the Wiregrass’s most influential African Americans as part of Black History Month.

Throughout February, we’ll be highlighting some of the area’s most successful in their fields, and giving a spotlight to those who persevered to become the people they are today.

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20 | Reafield Vester

Reafield Vester started working in Houston County on April 11, 1966. He remembers the spilt between the Black and White communities in many organizations, one of which being the National Peanut Festival. He helped get the wheels rolling on the Botanical Gardens here in Dothan.

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 21 | Ramona Cleveland

Ramona Cleveland is a retired teacher. She remembers there being no mention of Black people in her history books growing up. Cleveland has taught some notable Wiregrass figures including former Dothan mayor, Pat Thomas.


Fannie Huff was born in Brundidge, Alabama in 1935. She grew up on a farm doing everything but shake peanuts and milk the cow. Huff reflected on how she believes you need to go back and learn from your mistakes.

Celebrating Our People: Fannie Huff

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 23 | Valerie Russell

Valerie Russell is the Vice President and General Manager of WTVY. It is very important for her to be the first African American to serve in that role. Russell hopes to be seen as a pioneer and is so honored to be where she is today.

Valerie Russell is the first African American and African American woman to serve as the Vice President and General Manger of WTVY.


Rufus Lee is the superintendent for the Churches of God in Christ in the Davis McLeod district. He also holds a position at city councilman for Geneva. Lee stresses the importance of the study of African American History in order to know where we’ve been and where we are headed in the future.

Rufus Lee is the superintendent of the Church of God in Christ, a pastor in Geneva, a former educator and more.

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