Photo by Donald Giannatti on Unsplash

The Monmouth Vicinage will celebrate Black History Month with a virtual presentation on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023 at 12:30 p.m. 

The hour-long program will discuss the role of jazz music in resisting historic oppression, the stories of enslaved people in Monmouth County, and the significant works of T. Thomas Fortune, a local African-American journalist, civil rights leader, and publisher. 

Assignment Judge Lisa P. Thornton will introduce the program. Jazz Arts Project artistic director Joseph Muccioli, along with development director Carmen Balentine, will highlight contributions of jazz musicians who created art supporting resistance movements for the past 100 years. Jazz Arts Project is a non-profit organization that preserves the legacy of jazz through education and world-class professional jazz performances. Students from its specialized year-round educational program, Jazz Arts Academy, will perform.

Monmouth County Historical Association associate curator Joe Zemla will discuss the exhibit “Beneath the Floorboards, Whispers of the Enslaved at Marlpit Hall.”  The exhibit, currently on display at Marlpit Hall, depicts the lives of slaves who lived at the historical manor home in Middletown.

Gilda Rogers, executive director of the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center, will discuss the life of T. Thomas Fortune, one of the most influential American journalists and newspaper publishers of the 19th and 20th centuries. The center, which opened in May 2019, is located in Fortune’s former home, which is now a national historical landmark in Red Bank.

This virtual event is free and open to the public. Registration is required. Those interested in viewing the program can register here

For more information, to request an ADA accommodation, or for interpreting services, contact Monmouth Vicinage EEO/AA Officer Paulyn Holandez at 732-358-8700, ext. 87682 or

The program is sponsored by the Monmouth Vicinage EEO/AA Advisory Committee and the Advisory Committee on Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement. 

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