Arts & Entertainment

Montclair African American Heritage Foundation Honors WWII Veterans, Among Other Leaders for 2017



MONTCLAIR, NJ - On Saturday April 29, the Montclair African American Heritage Foundation and supporters gathered at the the Hanover Manor, West Orange to recognize businesses, municipal & organizations and to also pay special tribute to 5 World War 2 Veterans who all have made a mark in the Township of Montclair and Essex County through their work in entrepreneurship, charity, municipal and Military service .

In recognizing this years honorees, MAAHF adopted the Adinkra Symbol,​ translated meaning : "To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and profit from them together." 

Opening remarks and welcome were given by Cathy Stephenson-Smith, Chairperson, Harlem Renaissance Dinner/Dance. Albert Pelham and Bonni Taylor, co-chairs of the MAAHF, then addressed the crowd to provide a history of the organization and its mission. 

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"To serve as an outreach to broaden minds and spirits, preserve history and culture, and to recognize  and promote cultural resources as an essential element of Montclair's economic and social well-being," is the mission, they stated. 

A proclamation was read by Carter Jackson, Chairperson, parade organizer. Montclair Mayor Robert Jackson and Councilor Dr. Renee Baskerville were also in attendance.

The 2017 Ambassadors are as follows: 

Principal, James N. Earle, Montclair High School 

George Marable of DLV Lounge

James and Joanne Jefferson of Jefferson Café

Montclair Fire Department

Montclair High School Center for Social Justice

Montclair Sentinels Sixteen-87, Inc

Froncel and Susan Anderson of Purchased Possessions

The 2017 Grand Marshals selected this year are "Veterans and Community Warriors" affectionately known as "The 90+ Club" that attend the Wally Choice Community Center Glenfield Park.  The honored veterans are also still active in their local chapters of the American Legion, as veterans of world War 2 

Harrison Kadel Allen, Posthumously - served in the Quatermaster unit, better known as the Red Ball Express transporting supplies to the front line in Germany.

Samuel Debnam - United states Airforce, served as an instrument and propeller specialist for the B-17 aircraft 

John B. Knox - Sergeant 1st class, 3rd armored division under General George Patton 

William Monroe -  Staff Sergeant, among one of the soldiers who met French General Charles de Gaulle  

Clarence Wilson - Corporal in the 3404th Quarter Master Truck Company, US Army  

Upon receiving his plaque, Samuel Debman spoke a few words saying, "To the children, parents and grandparents, make sure your children know that it is not the end of their education after graduating, its only the beginning of their journey. If higher education is not the way, then find a trade or join a branch of the armed services."

He closed by saying, "Keep the heritage and legacy of black Americans going strong." 

Following the honoree portion of the program, a check presentation from Montclair Drifters President Tracey Munford, was joined by Monique Jenkins to present to the foundation.

Coming up:

MAAHF Annual Golf  tournament celebrating golf legend and pioneer John Shippen, will take place on May 16, 2017. For more information, visit

June 2, 2017 - Memories Dance at the George Inness Annex
June 3, 2017 - Parade and Festival to take place at Nishuane Park

Proceeds and donations from all events go towards community outreach, scholarships, educational programing, festival and parade activities.

For information go to


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