BINGHAMTON, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – A Westside Binghamton church is holding a special service this weekend in honor of Black History Month.

Boulevard United Methodist Church at the intersection of Grand Boulevard and Floral Avenue is holding the ecumenical service Sunday at 3 p.m.

It has invited Max Smith as the guest speaker.

Smith grew up as one of a few Black people in rural Madison County.

He would serve 5 terms on the Oneida City Council and 2 terms as Oneida Mayor.

Smith says Black History Month was started by Carter Woodson in the 1920’s and was originally known as Negro History Week.

He says it was expanded to Black History Month in 1976 in commemoration of the bicentennial.

Smith says Black Americans know more about White America than Whites know about Blacks.

“It’s very important to share, to have an opportunity for someone to see and interface with that Black reality in a way that they can hear and understand and be exposed to. So, all my life, I’ve considered myself to be an ambassador for the African-American community.”

Smith says despite their struggles, most African-Americans deeply love their country.

In fact, he told us a very moving story about his father’s patriotism that you can watch below.