The nonprofit that’s working to save the former home of T. Thomas Fortune hosts readings from the words of the pioneering African-American journalist, with events in Middletown, Red Bank, Shrewsbury and elsewhere.
As part of Black History Month and the National African-American Read-In, the not-for-profit T. Thomas Fortune House Project will host a series of readings from the works of the pioneering civil rights journalist – and onetime resident of Red Bank – T. Thomas Fortune.
Entitled “The People Speak: the Words of T. Thomas Fortune, ” the series includes public-welcome events at Middletown Township Public Library and Monmouth County Library Eastern Branch, in addition to a student-faculty fundraiser at Red Bank Middle School.
It’s the latest in an ongoing program designed to raise funds and awareness toward the effort to acquire, stabilize and restore the T. Thomas Fortune House, the National Historic Landmark at 94 Drs. James Parker Boulevard where the editor, publisher, poet, author and early civil rights activist resided from 1901-1908.
As regular readers of redbankgreen are probably aware, the house, which is currently boarded up and off-limits to visitors, was threatened with demolition by longtime owners the Vaccarelli family, who in recent decades operated a bakery on the property. As reported here, the planned demolition hit a legal roadblock, a development that afforded the TTF House Project board additional time to conduct the ongoing capital campaign. Long-range plans call for the house to eventually be developed into a community cultural center.
During February’s slate of People Speak events, members of the committee trying to save the house will read from Fortune’s books, speeches, and poetry. The series will kick off at Middletown Library (55 New Monmouth Road) on Wednesday, February 18 from 6:30 to 8 pm.
The following Monday afternoon finds an encore presentation hosted at the Monmouth County Library’s Eastern Branch (1001 Route 35/ Broad Street in Shrewsbury) from 1:30 to 3 pm.
Students and staffers at Red Bank Middle School’s AVID Program will attend “The People Speak” as part of a Jean Day Fundraiser (to benefit the T. Thomas Fortune Rally) on Friday, February 20.
There are two other opportunities for the general public to catch the 90-minute program; at 6 pm on the evening of February 23 at Long Branch Free Public Library (328 Broadway), and at 6 pm on Tuesday, February 24 at Neptune Public Library (25 Neptune Boulevard).