t thomas fortune foundation 400

t thomas fortune foundation 400“Weekend in Old Monmouth Tour” May 4-5

RED BANK – The T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center,  in a test run before its ribbon-cutting ceremony, on May 23, at Noon, will be open to the public, as a new addition, destination and stop along the “Weekend in Old Monmouth” Historic Tour on May 4-5 – from 10-5 pm on Saturday and Noon to 5 pm on Sunday.

The former home of the social justice crusader and African American journalist, T. Thomas Fortune, is a Second-Empire Victorian style home with a French Mansard roof that characterizes the time and space when Fortune and his family lived there, from 1901-1911. In 1976, “Maple Hall,” the home, was designated a National Historic Landmark Builder, Roger Mumford, of Roger Mumford Homes, restored and contributed “Maple Hall,” ensuring the integrity of the home by restoring and replicating elements and features that were authentic to the space. The hand-planed wood floors are beautifully crafted and compliment the grandeur of the downstairs 10-feet ceilings, with molding embellishments that double as art. Located in a building to the rear of the cultural center, Fortune Square model apartments will also be open to the public.

Visitors will be introduced to T. Thomas Fortune through a Pop-Up Installation as the Cultural Center continues to get ready for its grand-opening reveal. Two permanent art installations will be on display, “Fortune’s Legacy,” by Lavett Ballard and “Enough,” by Julia Rivera.

The upstairs space is devoted to a multi-functional open space named the Drs. James Parker Community Room, which salutes the Parker Family’s rich legacy as doctors who served all people of the greater Red Bank communities.

Upstairs will also house the Caroline Charlotte “Carrie” Fortune Research Library. Once in operation, visitors will find resources that address the complexities and triumphs of the African American experience, through scholarly research and other rare books and informational sources that chronicle the evolution of Black culture and heritage in America.

Education will be at the forefront of the day-to-day operation at the Cultural Center. Activities are being planned for the summer months to engage student participation from the 8th through 12th grades and beyond. Tour opportunities for all schools to visit the historic site starting this fall, are in the works. For more information and for a calendar of events, please visit www.tthomasfortuneculturalcenter.org

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Allan Dean

Allan Dean is editor, publisher, and founder of the Atlantic Highlands Herald. Published since 1999 and selected in 2000 by the Borough of Atlantic Highlands as one of their official newspapers, making...