2002-03-02 / Community

Women’s League Celebrates Black History

Women's League Celebrates Black History

On February 16, 2002 the Women's Industrial Service League, Inc. hosted its annual Black History Program at its headquarters, located at 1428 Beach Channel Drive in Far Rockaway. The program was intergenerational, with presentations made by our youth and by members of the organization. The purpose of this program was to highlight the achievements of Black Americans in the United States and in the Rockaway community.

The program was presided by the president, Florine Jenkins. Following were salutes to Black women: Ruby Bridges, the first child to integrate public schools in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1960; Emily Capers Brown, cofounder of the Women's Industrial League; and Mary McLeod Bethune, founder of the National Council of Negro Women. Presentations were made by: Allyson Omesiete; Mae E. Thomas, our Executive Director; and Nell Terrell, a member of the League and President of the National Council of Negro Women, Nassau Section.

A Salute to Black Men followed. Highlighted were the accomplishments of John Lankford, Garrett Morgan and Granville T. Woods by Beach Channel students Jonathan High, James McCants and Jason McCoy.

Josie Dennis, President Emeritus, gave a soul-stirring rendition of "The Negro's Mother" by Langston Hughes, in commemoration of the poet and author's 100th birthday.

Our guest speaker was Dr. Doris Green, a Fulbright Scholar and ethnomusicologist. She is a certified teacher of Labanotation; the creator of Greenotation, a system of writing African music, which is aligned with dance. She studied at Brooklyn College, New York University and L'Institut National Des Arts in Gambia, West Africa and in the Ivory Coast. She is the president of the Pan African Performing Arts Preservation Association and the creator of the publication "Traditions" to preserve the legacy and ancestry of African music and dance.

She gave a slide presentation on the languages, ceremonial customs, the music and dance of West Africa. Her presentation also included pictures of the places where Blacks were captured and placed on ships to be sold as slaves in Africa.

At the close of her presentation, Dr. Green invited members of the audience to play a song, "Sowu" with genuine African instruments from Africa: the Gankogui bells, the Axatse rattle and the Kagan drum from Ghana.

The program was culminated by a traditional soul food dinner prepared by the members of the League. The Women's Industrial League will host other Black History Programs throughout the year.

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