May 13th Tribute to Rutherford Civil Rights Commission

by Tom Bivin on May 1, 2017 · 0 comments

Saturday, May 13, 2017


Mount Ararat Church, 27 Elm Street, Rutherford


Tribute to Rutherford Civil Rights Commission Rutherford will mark the celebration of National Historic Preservation Month on May 13 2017 with a special tribute to the Civil Rights Commission, recipient of the 2017 Preservation Education Award presented by the Bergen County Historic Preservation Advisory Board.

Sponsored by the Meadowlands Museum and hosted at Rutherford’s Mount Ararat Baptist Church, the event will honor the Civil Rights Commission for its efforts involved in educating the community about its African-American and Puerto-Rican architectural legacy. The legacy reveals historic residential architecture built and occupied by prominent black and Puerto Rican families. This architectural history includes Rutherford’s venerated black church, Mount Ararat Baptist Church, first built in 1903 and rebuilt in 1919.

“The Commission is to be commended for promoting community diversity in its selection of historic sites and buildings associated with the development of Rutherford’s African-American and Puerto Rican-American history and culture, connecting history with architecture, and its work with the Rutherford Historic Preservation Committee,” stated Bruce A. Barton, Chairman of the Bergen County Historic Preservation Advisory Board, in an April 3, 2017 letter to Beatrice Goldberg, Commission Chairwoman. The county’s Division of Cultural & Historic Affairs has scheduled an awards ceremony for Thursday, May 4, 2017, to be held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Englewood.

The Civil Rights Commission has as its mandate aiding in the elimination of all types of discrimination. In that capacity, its efforts have especially involved educating its community about diversity of ethnic and racial groups. In this regard, the Commission has incorporated an architectural program that illustrates a proud legacy, including Christopher C. Walton, a pioneering black carpenter builder; Thaddeus L. Marshall, , an African-American street peddler who built his home on Elm Street in 1905; Lafayette Hoag, a former black American slave who built his home in 1872 and became coachman for a prominent book publisher; and Fernando Callejo, a famed Puerto Rican composer who settled in Rutherford in 1925. The Mount Ararat Baptist Church was formed in the Wheaton Place home of James and Louisa Fitzgerald in 1894 and had its first church built on Elm Street in the early 20th century.

On Saturday, May 13, 2017, a tribute to honor the Civil Rights Commission will be held in Rutherford at Mount Ararat Church, 27 Elm Street. The program is scheduled for 2-to-4 P.M. and will include a presentation by Rutherford Borough Historian Rod Leith about the historic church and the architecture of African-American and Puerto Rican families. The program will be hosted by Thomas Bivin, President of the Meadowlands Museum Board of Trustees, and moderated by Councilman Mark Goldsack, who is the Rutherford Borough Council liaison to the Historic Preservation Committee.

Besides Ms. Goldberg, the membership of the Rutherford Civil Rights Commission includes Barbara Bennett, Stephen Way, Rev. Robert Browning of Grace Episcopal Church, Rutherford High School representative Nicholas DiBrita, Ellen Goldy, Guy Tetro, Renjith Pillai, William Einreinhofer, Liam Otero (who is also a member of the Historic Preservation Committee), Jason Delgado of the Academy of Saint Mary, Deborah Solomon, Christopher Carbone, and Judith DePasquale.

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