SPRINGFIELD, NJ - As part of the celebrations surrounding Black History Month, Springfield held an event that doubled as a presentation about the notable black history in Union County and a discussion surrounding current events.
The event is in its second year. Last year's program took a look at the history of "the square," the predominantly black area of Springfield that was created as a result of redlining practices in town.,
The presentation was given by John Prescott, who noted that several key black histo rical figures lived in Union County during their lifetime. Prescott, who is the History Programs Coordinator at the Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs in the county, said that the county was home to a lot of black history.
Milt Campbell, the first black gold medalist in the Olympic decathalon lived in Plainfield. Zora Neale Hurston, a famous literature resided in Westfield for a time. And the Shady Rest Country Club in Scotch Plains hosted Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Althea Gibson, Joe Louis, and many other notable poeple.
And on the war front, members of the Tuskeege Airmen and the Harlem Hellfighters also hailed from Union County.
For mayor Erica Dubois, who hosted the event with several other current and former town and county officials,the program was a great way to get the ball rolling.
"I'm so excited that i get to take part in it, that I get to MC it, that I get to get the dialogue going," Dubois said. "But it's really a testament to everyone who helped put this together and all the residents who show up."
After the presentation was finished, residents in the room took part in a discussion surrounding current events related to the topic. They shared their experiences and contributed to a dialogue that finished up the remainder of the evening.