A Black History Month Post From Our Executive Director!

Students on the steps of Warner with civil rights signs

There are many opportunities in the City of Rochester to celebrate and learn during Black History Month. Over the years Horizons at Warner has visited many of the famous sites in our city. We learned together the history of the suffragists, visited Susan B. Anthony’s Home, sat in the park and had tea with Anthony and Douglas, and even went to the Underground Railroad in Auburn and the Harriet Tubman museum. 

But, there is still more to see and do! This month I encourage you to find something new to learn about our city’s history as it relates to Black History. I have attached a video to give you some ideas of where to start. 

Did you know that Rochester will soon be home to one of the only civil rights sites in the North East? Yes, the Heritage Civil Rights Site will be located right by the Baden Street Settlement in Baden Park. Those of you who live in the Clinton neighborhood or attend School No. 9 will have a great view. Imagine, Rochester will now be listed in the National Park sites related to civil rights. 

One of the things that impressed me the most about the Heritage Civil Rights site is that it was started, led and secured funding all from a group of people from Rochester who got together with a common goal. They wanted to preserve the history of the civil rights movement in the City of Rochester. When you look at the video you see people of all ages, gender, and color coming together to fight for what is right and just.  

Unfortunately, much of what they were fighting for is still a problem today in our City of Rochester. Racial equality, better job opportunities, improved education, economic growth and resources, quality housing and improved law enforcement relations. When you think how the world has changed since the civil rights movement and the Rochester Race Riots of July 1964, but today we still talk about inequality in the City of Rochester and surrounding Monroe County. 

Give some thought this month regarding what you view as measures of inequality. What directly affects you? Is there a place for you to get involved? Can you make a difference? Can you drive change?

We do not need to do something big, all the little things add up. As demonstrated in the video, the woman who designed and placed the Pittman Fountain at the Liberty Pole Plaza, was one woman who wanted to secure Black History in Rochester, while also providing a necessity.  “It represents liberty, equality and humanity for the city of Rochester,” said Midge Thomas, the wife of late Dr. Freddie Thomas, the driving force behind the fountain. She saw a need and made a difference. I am looking forward to visiting the Pittman water fountain this summer and possibly reading the Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, during Horizons at Warner 2020. 

Hidden History: Celebrating Black History Month in Rochester