Historical Society of EO kicks off traveling exhibit

EAST ORANGE, NJ — The Historical Society of East Orange kicked off Black History Month with its mobile tribute in the City Hall Lobby from Feb. 6 to Feb. 10.

According to Historical Society of East Orange President Goldie Burbage, the next stops for the Black History Month display will be Langston Hughes School from Feb. 14 to 17, then Jackson Academy from Feb. 21 to 24, before making a final stop at Bethel Baptist Church on Midland Ave. on Sunday, Feb. 26.

“As far as we’re concerned, Black History Month is every day of the year, but we just go along with the national celebration in February,” said Burbage on Tuesday, Feb. 7. “The display in City Hall will be dismantled on Friday and taken over to Langston Hughes School.

Burbage said the Black History Month kickoff at City Hall “went exceedingly well,” adding the Historical Society of East Orange “always tries to update the historical display on a regular basis,” to make sure any changes or additions are made as needed, to ensure that it will always be both relevant and representative of the city of East Orange.

“As a matter of fact, we have distributed the information around City Hall; it’s on the second floor, right outside the mayor’s Conference Room, and it’s on the stairwell and on the main level,” said Burbage. “We were able to get a promise of membership from some city employees. The new director of public safety is now a member. We get them where we can.”

The Historical Society of East Orange will be moving to a new quarterly meeting schedule at the East Orange General Hospital Pavilion on the sixth floor at 7 p.m., starting in March, “so we can accommodate the individuals that said they want to participate, but couldn’t do so, because of the previous morning meeting dates,” explained Burbage

“We’re trying to accommodate the residents … including others that reside outside the city, who are interested in joining and participating and are unable to make the morning meeting,” she continued. “That’s why we’re having the meetings beginning in March on a quarterly basis. We’re planning to have our lawn reception on June 11. We’re waiting for confirmations on this year’s awardees. It’ll be at 3 p.m. at a historical site in East Orange.”

Patricia Caesar, a longtime city resident whose family connections to East Orange run deep, is once again serving as the Historical Society of East Orange’s Black History Month chairperson.

“One of the reasons I joined the Historical Society is because my family, the Caesar family, is one of the oldest documented black pioneer families in East Orange,” Caesar said on Feb. 1, 2016, when the display was unveiled in City Hall. “My paternal grandparents settled here in 1898 and I have a history here. I’m proud to chair this committee.”

Ray Scott, treasurer of the Historical Society of East Orange and a member of the East Orange Education Foundation, was one of the hundreds who attended St. Matthew African Methodist Episcopal Church in Orange on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, Jan. 16, and urged people to come out and see the Historical Society of East Orange Black History Month exhibit.

“We want to introduce our children and make sure they stay aware of the wonderful things that have been accomplished by the citizens of the city of East Orange,” said Scott. “We break that down during Black History Month. Since we have a city that’s majority black, that’s what we are trying to do.”

To learn more about the Historical Society of East Orange, contact Burbage at 973-672-1783.