Linking/Preserving the Cultures of the African Diaspora



2017 African American History Month – Multi Media Program

A Faithful Journey: The American Negro Spiritual

Monday, Februrary 27, 2017, 7:00 PM
Rockland Community College
Cultural Arts Theater
A Faithful Journey: The American Negro Spiritual is Free and Open to the Public. The multi-media program conveys the origin, significance and beauty of the unique music form known as the spiritual, featuring members of OPERA NOIRE of NEW YORK.


2017 African American History Month – Photography Exhibit

We Shall Not Be Moved: The Fight Against Segregation in Hillburn, NY

Jan 31 – Mar 1, 2017
Rockland Community College
Technology Center Rotunda



Since 2009, the current AAHS has offered numerous events for the community-at-large.

gift of music: composers of the african diaspora

The Gift of Music: Composers of the African Diaspora will be presented to 500 school children from school districts across the county and to the community-at-large in two programs. The identical presentations will showcase male and female composers from the U.S. and from other parts of the world and will introduce audiences to Black composers influenced by European classical tradition, by African rhythms and culture, and to some who created hybrid styles.

Diverse genres will be presented including classical, spirituals, blues, folk, jazz and other forms via video, narration, a specially created historical photo exhibit that will travel to different venues, and live performances by RCC students and professional artists. This program will educate, engage and entertain, and will create better cultural understanding among the diverse groups in our community, for music is a universal communicator.

The African American Historical Society of Rockland County offered two free programs on February 2015 (February 25th at 10AM and 7PM and with a snow date) in collaboration with the Rockland Community College African American History Month Committee and the RCC Performing Arts Department. The program entitled: “I, Too, Sing America: The Contributions and Challenges of African Americans in the US Military.”

This project was designed especially for school children to help them understand the overwhelming love African Americans have always had for this country—despite discrimination and inequities; the willingness, commitment and desire to serve this great nation, and the groundbreaking and/or heroic actions that have helped keep America strong.

The program was also presented for the community-at-large, will showcase commentaries about African Americans, commentaries that have been filmed especially for these programs. Featured interviewees will include General Colin Powell, Mr. Sanders Matthews, a widely known Buffalo Soldier, Dr. Olivia Hooker, the first African American female to be admitted to the US Coast Guards, Dr. Roscoe Brown, acclaimed Tuskegee Airman, NY Senator Bill Larkin, Commander of an all Black unit as well as other individuals important to this theme.

This presentation was not designed to recruit individuals for the military; it did not glorify warfare or conflict. It was very simply designed to inform about and acknowledge the contributions and history of African Americans in the US military. In addition to the perspectives of a variety of key individuals, the program presented some of the music sung by Black enlisted personnel during different time periods, a creative dramatic sequence, dance that illustrates the rich history presented, a narrative that provides context, a video collage of Blacks in the military, excerpts from relevant films, and a specially created photo exhibit.

Video Commentary

The African American Historical Society of Rockland County, in collaboration with Rockland Community College’s Performing Arts Department, presented an engaging, cultural and educational program called “A Glimpse of the Harlem Renaissance”. In recognition of African American History Month, this program highlighted an unprecedented era in U.S. history when Harlem, NY became the center of African American cultural expression and when Black artists excelled in every genre. The multi-disciplinary event introduced audiences to major influential figures of the period, generally agreed to be during the 1920’s, and showcased music, dance, art, literature and style of the era.

Video Performance

Within the fabric of American identity is woven a story that has long been invisible—the lives and experiences of people who share African American and Native American ancestry. African and Native peoples came together in the Americas. Over centuries, African Americans and Native Americans created shared histories, communities, families, and ways of life. Prejudice, laws, and twists of history have often divided them from others, yet African-Native American people were united in the struggle against slavery and dispossession, and then for self-determination and freedom. For African-Native Americans, their double heritage is truly indivisible

lesson plans

(by Jamila Brathwaite & Dr. Travis Jackson)

Presented on February 5, 2009, at SUNY Rockland Community College. The conference consisted of the following:

  • A morning session for Rockland County students in Grades 7-9.
  • An afternoon session for college-age students and the community at-large.
  • Panels that provided a visual experience of the various economic contributions made to the Hudson Valley.
  • These panels traveled throughout the area during 2009 to libraries and schools.

Each program featured distinguished scholars. Presenters included Dr. A.J. Williams-Meyers of SUNY New Paltz; Dr. Lori Martin of John Jay College of Criminal Justice; Dr. Sherrill D. Wilson, former executive Director of the NYC African American Burial Ground Project; a filmed interview with Dr. Carl Nordstrom, author of NYACK in Black and White.

The “A Mighty River” program should be important to everyone in Rockland County and elsewhere, for it gives a glimpse of the physical, social, cultural, emotional, and financial investment made in this community by peoples of the African Diaspora. Despite the wonderful cultural and racial diversity of this region, little recognition has been given to the contributions of peoples of African descent to the community building and development or to the growth and prosperity along the mighty Hudson River.


There is a River – A Mighty River: Social and Economic Contributions of Africans along the Hudson, from the Dutch Period to The American Revolution