Starting to Reinvigorate ‘The Square’ by Celebrating Springfield’s Rich Black History

Credits: Erica DuBois and Chris Capodice
Township Committeewoman Erica DuBois Credits: Chip Dickson
Township Committeeman Chris Capodice Credits: Christopher Capodice

SPRINGFIELD, NJ – The Square is a neighborhood near the Antioch Baptist Church in Springfield.  For many years it was a predominantly African American neighborhood, but in recent decades it has diversified. 

Not forgetting and gaining an appreciation of that Springfield community’s history and its people is what the event “Welcome to The Square:  Celebrating Springfield’s Rich Black History” is meant to start addressing. 

The idea for the event came during the most recent Martin Luther King Jr. Day event at Town Hall. During conversations with some of the participants, and others after, Township Committeewoman DuBois and Township Committeeman Chris Capodice came up with the idea.

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They want more members of the Springfield community to share their stories about Springfield’s history in a way that celebrates the Township’s diversity but also reclaims some of its rich history.

In this first event, at least five members of the community will tell their stories.  They will talk about when Martin Luther King Jr. spoke in Springfield.  One of the times Dr. King spoke in Springfield was at Temple Sha’arey Shalom.

There will also be talks about the two Tuskegee Airmen that lived in Springfield and the Negro League Baseball player that attended church in Springfield.   One of the members knows enough Springfield history to talk about the time Sojourner Truth set foot there. 

The event will be held on Thursday February 22 at the Chisholm Community Center at 100 S. Springfield Ave.  It will run from 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.  It is open to all and refreshments will be served.

DuBois and Capodice hope to hold similar event celebrating other population groups of Springfield several times a year.  They hope a more formal structure will be established and that it will help “…build bridges among the community and not walls.”

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