Aurora to Honor Sherman Jenkins as Outstanding African-American of the Year

Aurora to Honor Sherman Jenkins as Outstanding African-American of the Year

The city of Aurora’s African-American Heritage Advisory Board will host its 11th Annual Heritage Dinner at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 27, at Gaslite Manor, 2485 Church Road in Aurora.

The crowning event of Black History Month, this annual celebration will focus on young achievers who are succeeding at school and in the community; and fete AAHAB’s 2015 Outstanding African-American of the Year, Sherman Jenkins, former executive director of the Aurora Economic Development Commission.

Sherman Jenkins, African American Heritage

For more than 20 years, Jenkins was an integral part of Aurora’s progress, first as the assistant director and then the executive director of the Aurora Economic Development Commission. Under Jenkins’ leadership, the Aurora Economic Development Commission fostered the development of Aurora’s first Downtown Master Plan, led a negotiating team to bring the Chicago Premium Outlet Mall to Aurora, and spearheaded the attraction of many corporations such as FHP and International Paper. As president of SLJ Communications, Inc. and SLJ Development Corporation, Jenkins publishes “Tell Me Somethin’ Good,” a digital monthly publication that covers African-American life outside the city of Chicago.

The AAHAB annually presents the Outstanding African-American of the Year Award to a community leader who has lasting impact in Aurora and who has made significant achievements in his or her field and the community. Past recipients of the award are: Judge Keith Brown, Donnell Collins, Henry Cowherd, Alderman Scheketa Hart-Burns, Sherman Jenkins, Cynthia Latimer, Clayton Muhammad, Archie Needham, Lillian Perry, Fred Rodgers, and Anthony Stanford.

The AAHAB will also award 10 students with the Henry Cowherd Scholarship named in honor of 2008 Outstanding African-American of the Year, Henry Cowherd. The 2015 Henry Cowherd Scholars are: T’Prinn Ingram (West Aurora High School), Olivia James(Aurora Central CatholicHigh School), Jadae Jamieson (West AuroraHigh School), Daniel Nabors (East AuroraHigh School), Selena Pullen (East AuroraHigh School), Alexander Render (Metea ValleyHigh School), Alana Rodney (Waubonsie ValleyHigh School), Britnee Smith (West AuroraHigh School), Kyle Thomas (IMSA), and Richard Webb (Oswego EastHigh School).

Tickets are $50 each, with a portion going to the Henry Cowherd Scholarship Fund. Tickets can be purchased online at, by calling 630-256-3402, or emailing

The African American Heritage Advisory Board for the city of Aurora was started in 2003 and is a non-partisan advisory board that is community based and funded by the city of Aurora. Its purpose is to provide education to the community and act as a bridge between the African American community and all other communities within the city of Aurora.

SOURCE: Aurora African-American Heritage Advisory Board press release