Students from Newburgh Free Academy recently celebrated African American heritage and honored local legends during the 2012 African American History Celebration, “Paying Homage to Our Local Legends”, held in the Newburgh Free Academy Auditorium, on Wednesday, March 7, 2012.
Legends honored during the special event included former City of Newburgh Mayor Audrey Carey, the first African American female mayor of a city in New York State; Chuck Stewart Sr. and Chuck Stewart Jr., local media pioneers; Saul Williams, NFA alumnus and poet-musician; and Runston “Pop” Lewis, former Newburgh Free Academy Board of Education President and current Board of Education Member. In addition, the late Sojourner Truth, an African American abolitionist and women’s rights activist, who was born in Ulster County, was honored for her achievements to United States history.
NFA students honored the legends through song, spoken-word and dance routines. Percussionist Jeff Haynes works with students for a moving musical tribute to honor African cultural heritage. In addition, GoldbackTV students created tributes through interviews and music to commemorate the local legends, detailing the contributions that their lives made to not only African American history, but to Newburgh and the Hudson Valley.
According to English teacher and coordinator for the event Silver Williams, “It is important that the students work on the production every year so that they will not only be able to experience greater knowledge through research, but so they may also be able to teach their peers about the ways in which African Americans consistently contribute to the improvement of our schools, communities, and the world.”
Press release by Kerry Butrick