Port Washington's African-American Heritage

Press

September 2009

We’re thrilled to announce that last week’s Port Washington News ran the article “Port’s African-American Heritage: Library Foundation Supports Project Of the Library’s Local History Center” on its cover!

The article highlighted the touching comments that have been left by the blog’s readers, especially a comment written by Mollie Nixon about her mother, Beatrice Nixon, who is featured here in our “Interviews” section.

March 1984

The Port Washington Public Library’s 1984 book launch for It Looks Like Yesterday to Me and the 1985 exhibit were reported in the local press.  The following are some highlights.

from the Port Washington News, March 15, 1985

from the Port Washington News, March 15, 1985

From the Port Washington News, March 15, 1984:

“Library reception to launch book on black history of Port”

The library will host a reception on Saturday, March 17, at 3:30 p.m. to celebrate the publication of “It Looks Like Yesterday to Me,” a photo and text story of Port Washington’s Afro-American heritage.

Researched and compiled by Elly Shodell, oral historian at the library, the book contains a series of interviews with many of Port Washington’s prominent black families, as well as more than 40 photographs dating from the 1890s to 1983.

Shodell began collecting and recording the reminiscences of the local black community under a grant from the Arwood Foundation.

She started interviewing families more than a year ago, assisted by Glenderlyn Johnson of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

The idea for the book took shape as the participants in the project realized that the material Shodell had collected formed the basis for a history yet to be written.

In his forward to the book, Farrell Jones, a member of the library’s Board of Trustees, wrote, “It is my hope that this modest but classic work which many, including the writer, have pursued with love and persistence, will inspire others to search for and take inspiration from a history too long hidden in darkness and prejudice.”

Shodell said special thanks go to those who shared their memories for the project, including Gerald Biddle, Marjorie Biddle, John Morgan Blount, Dorothy Dumpson, Hubert Goode, Florence Longworth, Beatrice Nixon, Clarence Phillips, Ella Beatrice Russell, and Ethel Saulter…

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of It Looks Like Yesterday to Me for $7, please visit www.pwpl.org/publications/yesterday.html for details and ordering information.

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