Join us at The Newark Public Library for our 2020 Black History Celebration!
The Black Athlete in America – Protest, Activism and Inclusion
February 4th through April 30th, 2020
Second Floor Gallery
The exhibition is open during normal Library hours Monday through Saturday, with free admission. Group visits and more details are readily available from The James Brown African American Room which can be reached at 973.733.5411
Curator: Dale E. Colston, Esq., Librarian, James Brown African American Room, Newark Public Library
Saturday, January 18, 2020 (Snow date: 1/25) | 2:00 – 4:00 PM
Martin Luther King Junior Commemorative Program
James Brown African American Room
The Avery Sharpe Sextet Presents The Martin Luther King, Jr. Project. This outstanding multimedia presentation about Civil Rights leader and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. blends compositions based on his life and famous speeches with historical photographs. Hailed as one of the outstanding bassists of our time, composer Avery Sharpe is perhaps best known for his 20-year association with the McCoy Tyner Trio.
Tuesday, February 4, 2020 | 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Doors open at 5:30, Snow date: February 5, 2020
Black History Celebration Opening
James Brown African American Room, 2nd Floor
George D. Martin
The Library welcomes George D. Martin, Activist/Philanthropist and former Defensive End for the NY Giants as our opening celebration speaker. George serves as an Executive Board Member for the National Football League Youth Football initiative – focused on molding, teaching and instructing NFL coaches and players. George founded Young African-American Professionals (YAAP) a self-help networking group that supports personal and professional growth in young people. He is responsible for mentoring countless individuals and has had a profound influence on the lives of many. The Black History Celebration Exhibit opens as well.
George was a co-founder and Chairman of Minority Athletes Networking, etc. (MAN) – a not for profit organization committed to cultivating inner city youth. For 18 years, MAN provided approximately 200 students with over $800,000 in scholarship monies. George also serves as an Executive Board Member for the National Football League Youth Football initiative – focused on molding, teaching and instructing NFL coaches, facilities and players. George formed an organization called Young African-American Professionals (YAAP) a self-help networking group supporting personally and professional growth and making a difference. He is responsible for mentoring countless individuals and has had a profound influence on the lives of many young people. George also serves as a board member of Hackensack University Medical Center, The East Orange Medical Center, Drug Abuse Resistance Education of New Jersey, The Giblin Foundation and The Harlem Junior Invitational Tennis Tournament. One day, George decided to walk across America, the country he loves and credits with giving him the opportunity to succeed, dedicating his Journey to the rescue and recovery workers after 9/11 attack on America, raising millions of dollars for their medical care. Just Around the Bend is the remarkable story of a man, a life and a special journey.
Thursday, February 13, 2020 | 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM (Doors open 5:30)
6th Annual BlackLivesMatter – Newark Panel Discussion on Sports & Activism
James Brown African American Room – 2nd floor
Featuring local Coaches and Community Activists Shawn McCray and Vanessa Watson; Douglas Freeman, Founder, Weequahic Park Sports Authority; Tommy Garrett, Tennis Instructor; CC Minton, President, Board at Stevenson & Moses Boxing for Life Foundation (Moderator).
Douglas Freeman – A Graduate of Weequahic High School, is a Newark stakeholder, committed to developing, administering and enhancing activities for residents of the South Ward, in particular, and Essex County, in general. His professional career in the telecommunications industry paved the way to become the owner of a Newark-based independent communication and insurance brokerage company. As co-founder of the Weequahic Park Sports Authority (WPSA), Mr. Freeman recognized the need for a fundamental training program that focuses on key areas of youth empowerment and success. As a community leader, he gathered members of the public/private sectors and the County of Essex, to move forward Weequahic Park renovation projects including the Irvin Booker Handball Court ($318,945), a new playground, sports fields and other park renovations. As the President of WPSA, he hosted several cleanup projects, entertainment events, family gatherings, tennis programs, etc. He is a certified USTA Tennis Instructor, involved in Let’s Move Programming, Baseball Fundamental Training, Golf Awareness, Restoring Tackle and Flag football, and a host of other outstanding projects. His passion to enhance the community is a lifetime goal that will follow him throughout his journey in public service.
Tommy Garrett, growing up in North Carolina and Newark, New Jersey, was an aspiring tennis player. He and his doubles partner Bobby Cunningham became the American Tennis Association’s national boys’ champions and earned the Eastern Tennis Association’s number three ranking in doubles. For Weequahic High School, Garrett was undefeated, winning the singles championship for four consecutive years and securing a full tennis scholarship to play for Howard University. Tommy’s tennis success can be attributed to his parents Oliver and Doris Garrett. Both were American Tennis Association players. Doris, Tommy’s mother was an amateur champion through the American Lawn Tennis and the American Tennis Association and was the Tennis coach for Weequahic High School. Tommy’s father Oliver played and won against tennis champion Arthur Ashe. Arthur spent time in Newark visiting Tommy’s home and tennis family. Tommy’s sister Yvonne lobbied to get the statue of Althea Gibson created, which now stands at the entrance of the Althea Gibson Tennis Courts in Bloomfield Park in Newark. Today, Tommy is sought to teach tennis and preserve the African American tennis legacy and can be found courtside at the US Open in Flushing Meadows, NY.
Shawn McCray made a stunning transformation from drug dealer from the Hayes Home projects in the city’s Central Ward to basketball guru for that same community when he founded the Zoo Crew Summer Basketball Program in 1998 and later became head coach at Central, his alma mater. That Zoo Crew name now represents healthy competition, participation and even a temporary escape from tough, sometimes unforgiving streets of Newark. Zoo Crew used to be the very name that was once reviled by local law enforcement as one of the more notorious drug rings in the city. McCray had a foot in both worlds. The theme, laid out early in the doc about McCray, is that the only way to get through these remarkable challenges is by doing it together.
Cecelia “CC” Minton (Moderator) is an author, media contributor, lifestyle empowerment strategist and social impact executive with a passion for people. She is a nationally recognized recipient of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition Leadership Award. Her grassroots journey began in the kitchen of her home and took her all the way to the most prominent address in the country — The White House. CC gave voice to her experiences becoming Health and Lifestyle Editor at Harlem World Magazine. Invited by the Press Office of First Lady Michelle Obama, CC covered The Kids’ State Dinner in the East Room and outside in The White House Kitchen Garden. Co-hosting the first Team USA Olympic Day sanctioned event in the city of Newark, participants experienced a worldwide celebrated day of festivities and learning about Olympic values. A community leader that added an entrepreneurial focus to her work, CC tackled big business as a New York/New Jersey NFL Super Bowl XLVIII business connect partner. Ms. Minton is President of the Board at Stevenson and Moses Boxing for Life Corp. She will soon release her new book, Passionately Focused, sharing lessons learned on her journey from the kitchen to The White House.
Coach Vanessa Watson enters her 2nd season at the collegiate level with the start of the 2018-19 women’s basketball campaign. In her first year, Coach Watson led the Bears to a Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) regular season championship after winning 15 of her last 18 contests to earn a post-season spot. Before Bloomfield, she had a storied 31-year career at the helm of her alma mater, Malcolm X Shabazz High School in Newark, N.J. where she retired in 2014 and then joined the NCAA Division I, Delaware State University in 2015 as an assistant coach. With a record highlighted by 10 state championships, 6 Tournament of Champions titles and over 700 wins, Vanessa’s Hall of Fame coaching career made her one of the most successful and accomplished coaches in the history of women’s basketball in the state of New Jersey on the high school level.
Saturday, February 22, 2020 | 2:00-4:30 PM
A Conversation about Sports and Community Activism
James Brown African American Room – 2nd floor
Panelists: and Robyn Moses, Co-Founder, Stevenson Moses Boxing for Life Corp. (SMBLC), Coach Dirt, Boxer Carina Casqueira, SMBLC Board President CC Minton (and a guest appearance via Skype from 2016 Olympic Silver Medalist and WBO Featherweight Champion Shakur Stevenson)
Carina Casqueira is a boxer on the rise. She has been boxing for two and a half years and has had sparring matches with more men than women. She started boxing to gain respect and avoid violence in the streets. Developing her talent by redirecting her energy and power inside the ring instead of on the outside, Carina Casqueira is a graduate of Essex County College with a degree in General Science and is a force to be reckoned with.
Coach Dirt has 15 years of coaching experience in Newark Pop Warner as well as Junior Olympic Boxing. Through his leadership, several student-athletes are doing great things in NCAA Division 1 football. Players have attended North Carolina State, University of Virginia, University of Michigan, Mississippi State and North Carolina University. For over a decade, Coach Dirt has worked as a professional coach under the tutelage of Hall of Fame and Olympic Boxing Coach Wali Moses. He is currently chief second trainer and cornerman for Vikas Krishan, a two-time Olympian who is known as the Indian Tank.
Cecelia “CC” Minton (Moderator) is an author, media contributor, lifestyle empowerment strategist and social impact executive with a passion for people. She is a nationally recognized recipient of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition Leadership Award. Her grassroots journey began in the kitchen of her home and took her all the way to the most prominent address in the country — The White House. CC gave voice to her experiences becoming Health and Lifestyle Editor at Harlem World Magazine. Invited by the Press Office of First Lady Michelle Obama, CC covered The Kids’ State Dinner in the East Room and outside in The White House Kitchen Garden. Co-hosting the first Team USA Olympic Day sanctioned event in the city of Newark, participants experienced a worldwide celebrated day of festivities and learning about Olympic values. A community leader that added an entrepreneurial focus to her work, CC tackled big business as a New York/New Jersey NFL Super Bowl XLVIII business connect partner. Ms. Minton is President of the Board at Stevenson & Moses Boxing for Life Corp. She will soon release her new book, Passionately Focused, sharing lessons learned on her journey from the kitchen to The White House.
Robyn Moses is the co-founder of Stevenson and Moses Boxing for Life Corp., a viable force in the community and the vision of her and husband Willie “Coach Wali” along with their grandson pro boxer and 2016 Olympic Silver Medalist in Boxing, Shakur Stevenson. Stevenson and Moses Boxing for Life is a non-profit organization committed to using boxing as a tool to teach camaraderie among peers in the community. Their signature program teaches Olympic style boxing that provides participants with the skills necessary to become a contender in the Olympics for Boxing if they choose to do so. They provide training for athletes to build endurance and perseverance for the sport of their choice and the belief that the work and experience, in and of itself, is an asset to one’s life. Their goal is to offer boxing as a deterrent to bullying and gun violence by building character and responsibility for the community in which participants live.
Shakur Stevenson via Skype – A native of Newark, New Jersey, Shakur Stevenson is the oldest of nine siblings Stevenson had a very successful career at the Youth Level, winning the 2014 AIBA Youth World Championships and 2014 Summer Youth Olympics. In 2015 he won the Senior U.S. Olympic Trials, thus qualifying for the U.S. boxing team at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In Rio, Stevenson won a silver medal, losing to Robeisy Ramírez of Cuba in the gold medal match. He was the highest-medaling male for the USA. Stevenson turned professional in 2017.
Saturday, February 29, 2020 | 12-5 PM
“Best Shot” Screening
James Brown African American Room – 2nd floor
Screening two episodes of Best Shot, a YouTube docu-series produced by LeBron James. The series chronicles the 2017-18 season of the Newark Central High School boys’ basketball team, their coach Shawn McCray and their mentor for the season, former NBA player, Jay Williams. We are screening two episodes of the eight episode series.
Hosted by Central H.S. Coach Shawn McCray (who is featured in the series) and a discussion with some of his former players about where they are now and how their coach helped them to pursue college and careers after high school.
All programs are free and open to the general public
PNC Foundation is proud to support the Newark Public Library’s Black History Celebration exhibition and public programs.