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St. James Park

The Daily Plant : Wednesday, March 15, 2006

St. James Recreation Center Remembers Black History Month By Traveling On The Underground Railroad


On Thursday and Friday, February 23 and 24, neighborhood children celebrated Black History Month by putting on an exhibit that followed African American progress through the centuries, with children costumed as historical black figures. The Turn2 Foundation, founded by New York Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter, was represented at the ribbon cutting ceremony by Turn2 Foundations Vice-President Charles Jeter, Derek’s father. St. James Supervisor Kathleen Walker organized the event.

Tour groups entered St. James Recreation Center and were led by Harriet Tubman on a information session that took guests through the changing roles of African Americans from the 19th through 21st centuries. This "Underground Railroad" made stops along the way to let iconic African American figures such as Frederick Douglas, George Washington Carver, and even Michael Jordan hop aboard and describe their accomplishments and what they experienced in their lifetimes.

The last stop on the walking tour was a summit during which the costumed children, including the host of the summit, Oprah Winfrey, discussed what they would like to change in the world. The answers covered everything from street gangs to poverty.

The two-day event drew approximately 250 guests on Thursday and 450 on Friday. The event got a considerable amount of publicity as New York City hip-hop radio station Power 105.1 was on hand on Friday and gave gifts away to the children and to the tour guests. Norwood News was also at the event. Such media awareness served as great encouragement to the children emulating the influential characters, who will hopefully remember the event for a long time to come.

The "Underground Railroad: Generation to Generation to Generation…" is in its’ inaugural year, and organizer Kathleen Walker Supervisor of St. James Recreation Center hopes it can become an annual event.

On a side note, the Turn2 Foundation is no stranger to the Parks Department. This spring and summer they will be hosting baseball clinics for young boys and girls ages 7-13 in all five boroughs.

Written by David Mazzuca

 

QUOTATION FOR THE DAY

"There wouldn't be such a thing as counterfeit gold if there were

no real gold somewhere."

Sufi proverb

 

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