TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) - This week, News 18 takes an in-depth look at black history in our area. Wednesday morning, we featured black professionals, making a difference not only in our community, but also in history.
Anytime you enter Jahvon Clark's Barber Shop on State Street in Lafayette, it's always a full house. But this shop is more than just a business for him, it's a dream.
"My older brother is the one that made me want to become a business man. He passed away in 2007. I've been doing this since 2004, but he's the reason I'm in here," said Javohn Clark, business owner.
Pediatrician Dr. Jahari Miller understands the importance of a dream.
"About 5, I told my mom I was going to be a doctor or a movie star," laughed Dr. Miller.
She hoped her achievements in education and the medical field send a message.
"It's really important for every, both the little black children and the little white children of the community, to know that just the color of someone's skin does not determine if they're a good person or a bad person, or if they're a smart person or non smart person," said Dr. Miller.
Dwight Keller, owner of Keller Builders, knows the value of hard work.
"It's a great city. I love being from Lafayette. I was born and raised in Lafayette and there's a lot of good people here," said Keller.
While working for another company, he decided it was time to work for himself.
Black professionals in the Hoosier heartland are also aware of the challenge race plays.
"Not judging the book by its cover, I mean, getting inside the door is half the battle and once you prove to people that you're honorable and have integrity and you are going to do good work by them, then I think that's all that matters," said Keller.
Dr. Yava Jones, an animal pathologist at Purdue University, works hard in the research department. For her, mentors made a big difference in her life.
"It's really important that I give that back to the younger generations and I try as much as I can to mentor young people and give as much advice and help as I can," said Dr. Jones.
Despite having to work harder than white counterparts, and sometimes encountering various forms of discrimination and racism, these professionals are an example of how, despite the odds, the American dream is possible.
Clark has a message he shares with everyone at his barbershop.
"You can do it because I did. I wasn't the smartest person in school but I got by. And I got my own shop and I've been doing this since 2004. So if I can do it, you can do it," said Clark.
Thursday in the final installment of the series, we take a look at the black church, the importance of faith in the African-American community, and how it makes a difference here in Lafayette.
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