T. Thomas Fortune, newspaper editor and civil rights activist, lived in Red Bank over 100 years
ago. He was born into slavery in 1856, in Marianna, Florida; however, he rose to become a stalwart defender
of the rights of “Afro Americans” a term he popularized through his career as a journalist, author, and social
justice advocate. His work on behalf of marginalized people everywhere changed the social landscape of our
great nation. His former home, a National Historic Landmark, located at 94 Drs. James Parker Blvd., Red Bank,
will open in late fall, 2018, as the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center, committed to preserving and furthering
the legacy of T. Thomas Fortune through educational programming and activities.

 

One way, the T. Thomas Fortune Foundation has chosen to continue Fortune’s work, is by expanding and
diversifying the historical record by bringing forth the history of communities of color in Red Bank and
Monmouth County. We invite community members to select photos or other two-dimensional items
(programs, flyers, articles) that represent milestones in your family history. We are also seeking materials
and information related to the African American business community, along with churches, social and civil
rights organizations. This is a grand opportunity to have your family’s history documented and then
presented to the public in an upcoming exhibit in 2019 at the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center.

 

Volunteers with the Cultural Center will host you at the Red Bank Public Library to digitally capture (scan) your
items and gather key information about your family and about the item(s) being presented. At that time, the
volunteers will also request permission to share your items and your verbal input with the public. For more
information on this project schedule a meeting with the TTF Community Heritage Project Manager, Sarah Klepner: sarah.klepner@gmail.com. She will review your valuable family heirlooms, memorabilia, pictures, letters and programs. We look forward to seeing your family’s history at the Cultural Center.

 

Funding has been made possible in part by an operating support grant from the New Jersey
Historical Commission, a Division of the Department of State, through grant funds
administered by the Monmouth County Historical Commission.

 

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