Brooklyn actor receives Black History Month award

Council Member Jumaane Williams (right) presents a New York City Council Proclamation to actor and activist Wendell Pierce at the Brooklyn Historical Society as part of Black History Month celebrations.
Photo by Keith Dawson / NYC COUNCIL

Brooklyn Council Member Jumaane D. Williams, deputy leader and chair of the City Council’s Housing and Buildings Committee, has presented a New York City Council Proclamation to Brooklyn actor and activist Wendell Pierce (“Selma,” “The Wire,” “Treme”) as part of Black History Month celebrations.

Williams, who represents the 45th Council District in Brooklyn, said Pierce received the honor for his outstanding contributions to Black film and culture in America.

The ceremony took place in the Brooklyn Historical Society prior a discussion between Pierce and Soledad O’Brien on his recent play, titled “Brothers from the Bottom,” which examines the effects of gentrification in New Orleans. The play will open at Bedford-Stuyvesant’s Billie Holiday Theatre on March 6.

“It is a special privilege to pay tribute to Wendell Pierce for advancing conversations and forging progress for equality and social justice for all — including special challenges faced by black men – with his own body of work as an actor, philanthropist, and theater producer,” Williams said.

“In addition to his professional achievements, Pierce has distinguished himself in public service, and supports a wide range of philanthropic causes including: the Pontchartrain Park Community Corp., which provides environmental and economical housing for families displaced by Hurricane Katrina, and as helped create the Sterling Farms to provide access to health food in the 9th Ward in New Orleans,” he added.

“He has truly enriched us all with his work and has earned the esteem of all New Yorkers,” Williams continued.

“It was an honor to have Wendell Pierce receive this Proclamation from Council Member Jumaane Williams at Brooklyn Historical Society. Wendell Pierce is an inspiring activist whose accomplishments have done so much for his hometown of New Orleans, and whose work has touched the lives of so many New Yorkers as well,” said Brooklyn Historical Society President Deborah Schwartz.

Pierce is a Juilliard-trained, New Orleans-born, actor, business entrepreneur, film actor, television icon and philanthropist.

As a young actor, he appeared in “The Winter’s Tale” at the Tulane Shakespeare Festival and various other productions during his youth.

He produced and hosted “Think About It,” a youth-themed talk show, for the local NBC affiliate station, and also hosted a weekly jazz show on WYLD-FM Radio called Extensions from Congo Square.

He attended the Juilliard School’s Drama Division from 1981 to 1985, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts.

Pierce has appeared in more than 30 films, 50 television shows and has performed in several stage productions.

He most recently appeared as Hosea Williams in the film “Selma,” and currently stars in “The Odd Couple,” written by Neil Simon, to air on the CBS network.

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