Contributed by D. Robin Blair |
I appreciate The Two River Times front page article of March 1-8, “Opening This Fall: Tribute to Overlooked Red Bank Legend.”
T. Thomas Fortune and family moved to their Red Bank home “Maple Hall” in August of 1901, according to a Red Bank Register article of that year. The Fortune home was subsequently deemed significant by its inclusion in both the National Register of Historic Places (Dec. 8, 1976), and in the New Jersey Register of Historic Places (Aug. 16, 1979). As a tradition for Black History Month in February, the T. Thomas Fortune Foundation participated in the 28th Annual African-American Read-In at both the Red Bank and Long Branch libraries with their “Reading Fortune: A Voice for the Ages.” This event is sponsored by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and endorsed by the International Literacy Association. The goal is to make literacy a significant part of Black History Month.
Thank you for bringing attention to this unique Red Bank story. The story starts with the son of a slave becoming the editor of the most influential African American newspaper in the nation. With his position, he befriends many of the most notable 20th century figures, e.g. Frederick Douglass. But the story continues with the current rehabilitation of his home made possible by Roger Mumford. In this public private partnership, Mr. Mumford will provide the nonprofit T. Thomas Fortune Foundation with a magnificently restored building to be named the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center.
For information about the T. Thomas Fortune Foundation, visit: tthomasfortuneculturalcenter.org.
D. Robin Blair Member,
Board of Directors
T. Thomas Fortune Foundation
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