FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 12, 2024
City of Kingston & Partners Host Special Black History Event
“Honoring the Dream: From Our Ancestors to Us” with Civil Rights Attorney Michael Sussman & Bard Jazz Ensemble on February 29, 2024
KINGSTON, NY – Mayor Steven T. Noble and the Department of Arts & Cultural Affairs are pleased announce a special Black History Month event, in partnership with Ulster County, the A.J. Williams-Meyers African Roots Center, and the Bard Conservatory, “Honoring the Dream: From Our Ancestors to Us” will be held on Thursday, February 29, at 6:00pm in Council Chambers at City Hall.
This special event will feature the Bard Conservatory Jazz Ensemble performing compositions from the civil rights era, and a talk by renowned civil rights attorney Michael Sussman. Anthony Dandridge, SUNY New Paltz Black History Professor and Executive Director of the A.J. Williams-Myers African Roots Center, will lead an honors ceremony in memory of national and local trailblazers. The program is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.
“We are proud to host this special event at City Hall, and to honor those who have left a legacy of greatness as a part of Black History Month in Kingston,” said Mayor Steve Noble. “I want to thank the Department of Arts & Cultural Affairs and our partners, as we gather to celebrate the achievements of Black Americans and Black Kingstonians. We hope you will join us for this special conclusion of the month’s festivities.”
“As our nation's Poet Laureate once wrote, ‘We will not march back to what was. We move to what shall be, a country that is bruised, but whole. Benevolent, but bold. Fierce and free.’ I am proud to work with the City of Kingston honoring the freedom fighters who have gone on before us,” said Ulster County Chief Diversity Officer Esi Lewis. “We are our ancestor’s wildest dreams and just as they did, we must work hard to ensure that our families, our descendants, our communities will have far better lives.”
Michael Sussman, member of the Bar of the State of New York, US District Courts in Southern, Northern and Eastern Districts of New York and Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, has been fighting for social and individual justice for more than 40 years. He has argued about 300 cases in the federal Circuit Courts, the vast majority in the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and served as lead counsel in more than 1,000 civil rights, school segregation, housing discrimination, and complex criminal cases. He has received numerous awards from the Attorney General for Outstanding Service to the Department of Justice.
Anthony Dandridge is a Visiting Lecturer in the second oldest Black Studies department in America at SUNY New Paltz and the Executive Director of A.J. Williams-Meyers African Root Center. An Afrocentrist who prioritizes the importance of cultural lenses when engaging phenomena, he has been teaching college courses on Race, Racism and Contemplative Practices for 20 years. He is a founding member of the Black Lives Matter at School Collective at SUNY New Paltz, a Co-Chair of the SUNY Black Faculty and Staff Collective, a New Paltz Faculty Sustainability Fellow, a core member of the New Paltz Eddy, a steering group member for The Sojourner Truth Library Antiracist Campus Read, and a proud and active member of the Union of University Professionals where he has presented on Unions and Racism on several occasions.
The Jazz at Bard College division is committed to teaching jazz as an integral part of the African musical diaspora and, historically, as a place where European, African, and Native American musical and cultural practices flowed together. It also regards jazz music as a technologically inclusive art form that should not be frozen in time, ever evolving, while becoming increasingly socially and culturally diverse.
Special thanks to Radio Kingston for technical support.