By John Burton
RED BANK – The volunteer committee working to preserve the borough home of noted 19th and 20th century African-American journalist T. Thomas Fortune is planning its first fundraising to assist in its preservation efforts.
The event is planned for Oct. 3, what would have been Fortune’s 157th birthday. It will be held at the Celestial Lodge, 141 Drs. James Parker Blvd., from 6 to 9 p.m. The cost is $20 per person and light refreshments will be served.
The committee, headed by Peter Primavera, a professional historical preservation consultant, has been working to raise funds and public awareness about Fortune and his one time home, located at 94 Drs. James Parker Blvd. The committee hopes to eventually be able to acquire the home, which is listed on both the state and national Register of Historic Places. The home, which has fallen into considerable disrepair, could serve as an educational and historical resource.
University of Delaware and Fortune scholar Dr. Jennifer Moses will be the keynote speaker at the event, and will be joined by Primavera; journalist Linda Shockley, who will discuss Fortune’s contributions as a journalist; and borough resident and Red Bank Historical Commission member George Bowden. Bblues musician Chuck Lambert and his band are scheduled to perform.
Fortune (1856-1928) was born into slavery and went on to establish, publish and edit African American-oriented publications, such as the New York Age, as well as authoring books and contributing to other publications. He worked for and with such notable names in the early civil-rights movement as W.E.B. Du Bois, Booker T. Washington and Marcus J. Garvey.