Happy New Year and welcome to 2018.

On the following pages, as we do in our first publication of each year, is our listing of the 60 most influential Blacks of Columbus and Phenix City, Alabama.

To create our roster our editorial board drew from a variety of sources. From politicians to ministers, entrepreneurs to officers, on the following pages we have provided our list of Black men, women and or organizations whom we feel, according to the definition of “influence” in the M e r r i a m – W e b s t e r Dictionary, “have the pow-er or capacity in indirect or intangible ways to have an effect on the condition or development of the peo-ple of our community”.

Our list this year includes many familiar names and some new faces. Individuals on the list – some who are very much in the public eye and some who choose to work behind the scenes – have been selected for the power and influence they wield in our community.

This year we have added four additional listings. The first is a list of the thirty-one past recipients of the Delta Iota Lambda Chapter of Alpha – Phi – Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Unity Award. This prestigious award has been presented annually at their Martin Luther King, Jr. breakfast since 1987.

Black Millennials are thoughtful, nuanced, and knowledgeable about politics and are aware of the challenges within the Black community and how those challenges can be addressed through social media. We realize that the importance of this generation cannot and should not be underscored. Our list of “Millenials on the Move”, includes individuals who are currently involved in our community through volunteerism, their service on local boards and commissions, or by making a difference in their area of expertise.

We are excited to include our listing of one of the fastest growing demographics in Muscogee County, the twenty most influential Hispanics in Columbus, Ft. Benning and Phenix City, Alabama.

We are well aware that anytime you decide to compile lists of individuals based on their “influence” or whether they are; “On The Move”, it always leaves room for criticism or at the least some heated discussions. This is our list as we see it. We understand and respect those differing opinions and as such we will have to agree to disagree.

Our final list is that of twenty-one outstanding young men who were presented to the community on Saturday, December 16th, 2017. The 20th Biennial Beautillion Ball is the culmination of a yearlong worth of activities sponsored by Jack and Jill of America Columbus, GA Chapter.

Wane A. Hailes