EO Hall of Fame induction caps busy weekend

Photo by Chris Sykes
From left, acting Essex County Prosecutor and East Orange Hall of Fame Selection Committee Chairman Ted Stephens, Mayor Ted Green, Superintendent of East Orange Public Schools Kevin West and Campus High School track team head coach Lance Wigfall listen while publicist Darryl Jeffries speaks on Wednesday, Oct. 10, during the press conference for the upcoming East Orange Hall of Fame induction ceremony in the Cicely Tyson School of Performing and Fine Arts.

EAST ORANGE, NJ — The East Orange Hall of Fame’s second induction ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 24, at 6 p.m. in the Cicely Tyson School of the Performing and Fine Arts theater, will conclude the city’s Thanksgiving and Alumni Weekend celebration. That includes the annual football game between East Orange Campus High School and Barringer High School from Newark on Thursday, Nov. 22, at 11 a.m.; the annual Thanksgiving Alumni Basketball Game in the East Orange Campus High School gymnasium on Saturday, Nov. 24, at noon; and the Panthers and Scotties Meet and Greet at Mrs. G’s Lounge on Central Avenue on Saturday, Nov. 24, at 6 p.m.

“This is a milestone occasion to pay tribute to the pioneering legacy of innovation and achievement that is deeply embedded in our cultural heritage in the great city of East Orange. Proceeds from the event will benefit youth development and cultural enrichment programs,” said acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens, who also serves as chairman of the East Orange Hall of Fame Organizing Committee, on Friday, Nov. 16. “The establishment of the East Orange Hall of Fame provides a portal and lens through which we can share an authentic and compelling narrative to tell it like it is about our grand and glorious past, the people, places and institutions that have placed our community at the forefront of national and global recognition while serving to inspire greater achievements among future generations.”

According to Stephens, the 38 members of the East Orange Hall of Fame’s second class will be divided into five categories and include: Charles Hinton, Troy Webster, Chris Fletcher, Michael Booker, Larry Schumacher Sr., Raquel Vassell, Thomas Dean, Lance Wigfall and Robert Lester in the sports category; Donna Alexander, Virginia Fletcher, Reginald Baker, Nobel Prize-winner Richard Thaler, Dr. Melvin Fielder, J.W. Pierson and Lou LaSalle in the enterprise category; Janis Ian, singer Gwen Guthrie, Adegoke Steve Colson, Ann Harding, Steve Washington, David Conley and actress Naturi Naughton in the performing arts category; Frederick Shack, Dr. Obery M. Hendricks Jr., Dr. Sheila Walker, Rudolph Brown and Margaret Clapp in the arts and letters category; and Ronald Manzella, John L. Costley Sr., Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, Edward T. Bowser Sr., Henry Hamilton, Garfield J. Jackson Sr., former Councilman William Holt, tennis star Althea Gibson, Doris Britton and Leroy Jones Sr. in the civic and community service category.

Last year, the first East Orange Hall of Fame class included: actor John Amos, rap group Naughty By Nature, singers Whitney Houston and Dionne Warwick, rapper Dana “Queen Latifah” Owens, Dr. Zain Abdullah, Kathy Baker, Linda Baker, Toya Beasley, Paulette Bigelow, Clyde Bradshaw, Mike Brown, Brigadier Gen. Richard Cardillo, Judge Robert Carter, Michael Dabney, Robert Davenport, Gale Fitzgerald, Mayor William S. Hart, Fred Hill, John Hooper, Gary Garland Houston, David Humphrey, Greg James, Baruti Kafele, Dr. James Oliver, Scott Patterson, Jerome Pierce, Col. Clyde Richards, Glenn F. Scotland, Fidelia Sturdivant, Norman Tate, Al Volpe, Janice Walker, Darryl White and the Rev. Russell White.

“I anticipate this year’s celebration will surpass all expectations,” said Stephens. “I’m calling upon all of the loyal and faithful East Orange natives who hold near and dear the community of our origin. I encourage everyone to reserve their seat on Thanksgiving weekend for this hallmark occasion. It’s an event surely not to be missed.”

As an East Orange High School graduate and “proud Panther,” East Orange Mayor Ted Green said he was looking forward to all of the city’s activities, especially the Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Last year, as mayor-elect, he was a presenter at the ceremony, where he introduced hip-hop music legends Naughty By Nature.

“We’re going to have a fantastic weekend. We’re starting off with the Old Guard. I’m going to even be playing in the Alumni Basketball Game. I played last year, too. It’s all in fun,” said Green on Sunday, Nov. 18. “The alumni party is going to be fantastic and it’s going to be immediately after the EOHOF induction. We’ll be at Mrs G’s Lounge, that’s owned by a woman from the city who used to operate a diner at a different location in the city, but moved over and took over and renovated an old masonic hall. This whole weekend, from the Class of 1978-79 and the Old Guard and those who graduated from East Orange High and Clifford Scott in the 1980s to the Campus High graduates from the ‘90s and 2000s, is going to be great. We’ve got a great weekend coming.”

The mayor said he’s proud to be a part of East Orange tradition.

“I’m very happy to be a part of all of this. We’re inviting people from all over to come and be a part of the activities and a part of what’s going on right now in the city,” he said. “It shows some of the dynamite people who came right from East Orange. We’ve got such great people and such a great history and I’m honored to be the mayor of the city of East Orange.

“This weekend is going to be very important for our young people, too, because they’re going to see that your heroes don’t always (have to be) the Jay-Z’s or Lebron James. We’ve got heroes right here in the city of East Orange that you can see and touch. We are on fire in the city of East Orange and that’s why we’re committed to our mission of ‘One city one community’ with one goal and that is progress. All of this shows the progress, because people are coming back,” he added.

General admission and reserved tickets for the induction ceremony may be purchased on Eventbrite at eohof2018.eventbrite.com. For more information, contact submit@eohof.org or contact publicist and East Orange native Darryl L. Jeffries at 973-449-4836.