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Minn. Man's Website Celebrates Black History All Year

By Amelia Santaniello, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Twice a month, WCCO teams up with American Equity Mortgage to give out the "Making a Difference" award to honor those people who make our community better. The winner gets a prize of $500 to spend any way he or she wants. These are their stories.

We talk about African American history -- about the black experience -- a lot around the King Holiday and during February, but much the rest of year and that's always bothered Benjamin Mchie.

"Then suddenly it just goes away after the first of March, is a discredit to us because we're still here," said Benjamin Mchie, one of November's winners for the Making a Difference Award.

Out of frustration came an idea.

"We created the website, African American Registry. The home page changes every day to reflect the current date in African American history," he said.

Look up Nov. 8 and you'll learn that on that date four years ago, Minnesotans elected our country's first Muslim American congressman, Keith Ellison.

The registry gets personal with more than 300 videos, including one of Ellison speaking.

When Mchie started the Registry in 2000, he asked teacher Sara Tuvey, the person who nominated him for the award, for advice.

"There's more info than I ever thought that would be that accessible ... and for free," said Tuvey.

WCCO first told Benjamin that we were just doing a news story on him, then surprised him with the $500 Making A Difference award.

"We'll probably buy a couple microphones for our Black Box video work," said Mchie, about the award he recieved.

"It's so funny, the people we've given this to, they always put it right back in to what they're involved with. Don't you want to be a little selfish? Go out for dinner or something?" said Santaniellio.

"OK, I'll do that after I buy my microphones," he said.

If you know someone who's making a difference in our community -- let us know about them with a nomination form.

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