Queens community celebrates Black History

Councilmember Leroy Comrie and Master of Ceremony Donald L. Clarke.

Council Member Leroy Comrie, public officials and community leaders in Queens celebrated Black History on Feb. 2, 2013.

In his address Comrie said, “This has been an historic time for people of color, having just witnessed President Barack Obama’s second inauguration, we must take this time to reflect on where we came from, envision where we are headed, and celebrate those who sacrificed so much.

“We should not only remember leaders, such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, for what they accomplished, but also understand that they did not wait for anyone else to help them. Instead, they took charge and pushed for the change they wanted to see, which something we must emulate again.”

The event took place at Queensborough Community College’s Performing Arts Center, where many people were present to see performances by talented entertainers such as Crystal Smith, the Edge School of Arts Dance Troupe, Randolph Smith, Joe’s Music School Orchestra, students from PS 176, the St. Albans Baptist Church Dancers, Ada Peppers, and James Baynard, of the Crown Heights Affair.

Donald L. Clarke Esq. served as The Master of Ceremonies for the evening.

WBLS personality, historian and radio pioneer Bob Slade delivered the keynote address. He spoke about the first Black-owned record label, Vee-Jay records. While the label made most of their money by releasing some of the first songs from The Beatles in the United States, they also released albums from performers such Jerry Butler, Jimmy Reed, John Lee Hooker, Betty Everett, and The Four Seasons.

Other elected officials including Comptroller John C. Liu, Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer, Council Member Ruben Wills, and former Comptroller Bill Thompson, also spoke.

Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, Congressman Gregory W. Meeks, Assemblywoman Vivian E. Cook, Assemblywoman Barbara Clark, Assemblyman William Scarborough, Assemblywoman Michele R. Titus, Councilman Ruben Wills, the Jamaica Branch of the NAACP, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. Epsilon Pi Omega Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. Queens Alumnae Chapter, United Black Men of Queens Inc., Guy R. Brewer United Democratic Club, Greater Queens Chapter of the Links Inc., Clergy United for Community Empowerment (CUCE), & the Jamaica Performing Arts Center (JPAC) co-sponsored the event.

PS 176 students represented famous Black History-makers and read from their speeches.

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