“The Missing Story” -a vintage YMCA of Montclair photo depicts individuals connected to the Y.

Montclair, NJ – The YMCA of Montclair is hosting a series of events in celebration of Black History Month that are free and open to the community.

All events will be held at the Park Street YMCA at 25 Park Street in Montclair. More events may be added, please check our website as we update the schedule at montclairymca.org.

The Missing Story: African American History in Montclair – Lecture led by Betty Holloway Thursday, February 20 at 10:00am

Betty Holloway, YMCA member, Activist and Public Historian will lead a discussion on some of the contributions to black history in Montclair. This event is presented in partnership with the Omicron Xi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. To attend the event, please RSVP at this link: https://bit.ly/31cbPbA

In addition, we invite members and the community to join us for selected weekly dance and fit classes held through the month of February and year-round:

Afro-Fit Dance Mondays at 8:00pm

Featuring Afrobeats, soca, dancehall, kompa, and Afro-Latin dance cultures married to a fitness workout. Class led by Jessica Elicin who specializes in Afro-Caribbean dance fitness that connects people to the culture, rhythm, and roots of the African Diaspora.

Afro-Caribbean Dance Sundays at 3:30pm and Thursdays at 9:00am

Immerse mind and body in the joy and vitality of rhythms rooted in traditional African-Caribbean dance with modern day music. Class led by Julio Jean, a renowned master Haitian dance teacher, choreographer and musician.

For individuals who are not current YMCA members please present a driver’s license or other government-issued I.D. to enter the facility. Minors must be accompanied by a parent/guardian.

10 replies on “YMCA Of Montclair – 2020 Black History Month Program”

  1. Maybe Ms. Holloway doesn’t come from the families of the people in the picture above, having only made her way later in life to Montclair. She is still my favorite history teacher and knows to tell our story.

    If how our town was founded by “Progressives” (Puritan slave owners) gets your interest and how the “colored people” where lured from the South to Montclair in the 1800’s to serve the rich households, come listen to her on February 20.

    Seeing this picture looks a lot like the picture of the New Medical Office Building at Mountainside Medical Center, I think “They may rest from their labors and their works do follow.” Maybe Mr. Astor will find something hard to say about these people in this picture too in his next column of funnies.

    As Ms. Holloway will tell, this town’s history is that between “a ruling class and a servant class.” Our people, our voices, are still to be heard.

  2. “If how our town was founded by “Progressives” (Puritan slave owners) gets your interest and how the “colored people” where lured from the South to Montclair in the 1800’s to serve the rich households, come listen to her on February 20.”

    If Ms Holloway is going to “say this” and “say that”, then no thank you. If she is going discuss Black History in the 1800’s, then it sounds very interesting.

  3. Thank you for the mention, Melissa. I realize you were partly being wry — 🙂 — but I don’t see THAT much similarity between the above photo and the photo from the recent ribbon-cutting at the medical building across from Mountainside hospital. Yes, both photos are “homogenous” in a way — either all African-Americans or all white people. But the above photo has a mix of women and men, while the medical-building picture is all men. Also, the above photo is from a more segregated time when African-Americans couldn’t be part of some Y’s, whereas the Mountainside photo is from 2020 — when things are supposed to be more integrated. Then again, both photos are rectangular… 🙂

  4. Mr. Astor, I am thinking about that picture on this page and the picture on the page you talked about. I wonder why I see so much diversity and you insist “homogenous” [sic]. Those so different faces capture me. I am wondering about each story of happiness and each story of suffering speaking from those faces. Who were those people? Who are they?

    They are also of a kind. All dressed to the teeth, proud, pleased with the works they have delivered to their families and communities. But only if I pin those pictures to my kitchen wall and step way back do I stop seeing their faces, stop asking about their stories, and only see their color. Yes, rectangular. Formulated. Fit for purpose. What purpose do pictures serve in your stories?

    Mr. Rubacky, maybe Ms. Holloway will tell the same facts she told us at the Montclair History Center two years ago. It’s not for me to say what this’s and that’s will be told or will be pleasing. The truths of the “Black History” you insist on are not always convenient. I have never known a history that only satisfied. Perhaps I too will stay home in a safe place, afraid of the stories being told on a Thursday morning at a Y recently desegregated.

  5. Absolutely, Melissa. Every human being is SO different. I was talking about the “surface” similarities and differences between both photos. Your accurate and eloquently expressed point is very well taken. 🙂

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