RED BANK: KEEPING FORTUNE’S VOICE ALIVE

Suubi Mondesir with Fortune Foundation co-chair Gilda Rogers last month. Below, Mondesir, second from right, on a 2016 tour of the Fortune house led by builder Roger Mumford. (Photos by Chris Ern, above, and John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By CHRIS ERN

In the summer of 2016, Suubi Mondesir was a rising junior at Red Bank Regional High School when she participated in a tour of a crumbling Red Bank house.

At the time, preservationists envisioned the building on Drs. James Parker Boulevard as a cultural center in honor of its onetime owner, the civil rights journalist T. Thomas Fortune, and Mondesir was present as a participant in the Hugh N. Boyd Journalism Diversity Workshop at Rutgers University.

Flash forward to 2021: The house has been fully restored as the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center, and Suubi (pronounced SOO-vee) manages its media outreach efforts as an intern. But it’s not just a job. Her work at the center aligns with a personal passion for social justice, inspired by Fortune’s work in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, she told redbankgreen in an interview last month.

“What he did is what I am hoping to do as well: to inspire people with my writing, and to speak truth to power,” Mondesir said.

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RED BANK: FORTUNE TO HOST PARKER ROOM

Press release by the the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center

On the heels of Juneteenth, the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center announces its partnership with Monmouth Medical Center, a part of RWJ Barnabas Health, as the exclusive sponsor of the Parker Family Legacy Room – a permanent exhibit of the history of the family of prominent Red Bank black doctors, who served their community for over 80 years.

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RED BANK: MARCH INAUGURATES JUNETEENTH

Juneteenth marchers on Shrewsbury Avenue, above, and Drs. James Parker Boulevard, below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bankers commemorated the new federal and New Jersey state holiday of Juneteenth with a march Saturday.

The hike on a humid last day of spring was bookended by gatherings at Pilgrim Baptist Church on Shrewsbury Avenue and the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center on Drs. James Parker Boulevard.

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RED BANK: FORTUNE SETS ‘BASIE 2020’ SKED

william count basie postersImages of William ‘Count’ Basie on display at the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center last week. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

The T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center, built to honor a pioneering African-American journalist with Red Bank ties, plans to spotlight the borough-born musical giant William ‘Count’ Basie through 2020.

The occasion is the 85th anniversary of the formation of the Count Basie Orchestra, which is still touring 36 years after its founder’s death.

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RED BANK: TENTH OYSTERFEST ROCKS THE LOT

red bank oysterfest 2019red bank oysterfest 2019 Sunshine and feels-like temperatures around 80 degrees put thousands of visitors in a dancing, eating and drinking mood at the 10th annual Guinness Oyster Festival in Red Bank Sunday.

This year’s event, held as always in the White Street parking lot, raised funds for three Red Bank-based benefactors: Monmouth Day Care Center, T. Thomas Fortune House, and Red Bank RiverCenter, the event sponsor.

Were you there? Look for yourself and your friends in redbankgreen‘s photos. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

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RED BANK: FORTUNE CULTURAL CENTER OPENS

red bank fortune house Dozens of supporters gathered on the front lawn for the opening of the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center. Below, a view of the ceremony from inside the restored house. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank fortune houseMore than a century after the departure of its most famous resident, the T. Thomas Fortune House in Red Bank reopened Thursday as a cultural center dedicated to his mission of advancing civil and human rights.

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