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Mural of Black cowboys on canvas by: Donovan Nelson
Film Festivals to Black Cowboys:
NYCHA Celebrates Black History


During the month of February, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) celebrated the rich history and innovative contributions of African Americans with its residents and employees.

Various NYCHA community and senior centers held Black History Month programs that enlightened participants about African American culture. Staten Island community centers celebrated the achievements of Black actors and actresses, with two month-long Black film festivals, where Robert Townsend’s "The Five Heart Beats" and Steven Spielberg’s "The Color Purple," along with several other films, were screened for NYCHA movie buffs.

Seniors celebrate black history
NYCHA seniors laugh it up at a
Black history celebration
Photo credit: Kevin Devoe

The Bay Eden Senior Center in the Bronx reflected on the significant impact Black musicians have made in the music industry as they moved and grooved to a live performance on February 9th by world renowned singers, Cuba Gooding Sr. and the Main Ingredient.

A group of NYCHA’s Manhattan Senior Center directors collaborated to host a borough-wide event for all Manhattan NYCHA seniors. The event entitled, "Celebrating our Continuing Legacy," was held at the Polo Grounds Senior Center on February 23rd and attracted more than 165 participants from 10 different developments.

Lastly, NYCHA rounded out its Black History Month celebrations by acknowledging the contributions of Black Cowboys in shaping the American frontier at its annual Black History Month Celebration for employees. Black Cowboys were as much a part of the Old West as sagebrush, buffalos and stagecoaches, but many history books pay scant attention to their memory and Hollywood has also largely ignored their stories. That is precisely why the Authority chose to cast the spotlight on these unsung heroes.

Allan Harris
Folk singer, Allan Harris performs at the 2007 NYCHA Black History Month Employee Event
Photo credit: Pete Mikoleski

As part of the NYCHA employee celebration, noted singer-songwriter Allan Harris and his band performed "Cross That River," a series of songs that depict the story of Black Cowboys throughout the West.

The New York City Housing Authority is pleased to celebrate the achievements and contributions of African Americans with its residents and employees. Dianne Henderson, a Senior Director at the Polo Grounds Senior Center, says "we do things in large multitude like that, because we are family."

By Tischelle George and Peter Moses
March 2, 2007