Newspaper editor and former slave T. Thomas Fortune formed the Nfortune_091716Regular readers of redbankgreen have been kept abreast of the campaign to rescue and restore the T. Thomas Fortune House, the historic site that was once home to the pioneering African American journalist and publisher whose name adorns the property on Drs. James Parker Boulevard. While much work remains to be done toward the goal of transforming the boarded-up 19th century home into an educational and cultural center, a group of Monmouth County neighbors is also engaged in making the long-deceased Mr. Fortune into a still-vital presence; one with a message to convey to contemporary community members of all ages and backgrounds.

This Saturday afternoon, September 17, Red Bank’s Calvary Baptist Church will be the setting for another in a regularly scheduled series of meetings by the African American Genealogy Group. Beginning at 1 p.m., it’s a special edition of the event that takes place on the third Saturday of each month.

Saturday’s two-hour session welcomes guest speaker Lynn Humphrey, board member of the T. Thomas Fortune Committee (and publisher of the community-calendar website BizEturtle), for a presentation on her genealogy research into Fortune and his family. The presentation will be followed with an appearance by Lorraine “The Wisdomkeeper” Stone — actress, storyteller, and fellow TTF Committee member — who will speak about the career of the celebrated writer, editor, and publisher during his years as a resident of Red Bank.

All are welcome to the free program, taking place in the Educational Wing inside the house of worship at Bridge Avenue and River Street (park in the lot behind the church). For more information about the Genealogy Group and its monthly meetings at Calvary Baptist, contact facilitator Charles Lawson at or call (732)530-1995.