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For Release: May 2, 2003


Department of Education Schedules Three Regional Programs
to Support African-American History

The New Jersey Department of Education is sponsoring three regional programs for local school officials next week on topics related to incorporating African-American history into the traditional curriculum of New Jersey’s schools. The programs, called Amistad conferences, refer to the name of a cargo ship that was taken over by enslaved Africans en route to the United States from Havana in 1839. Amistad is also the name of a recently enacted law and a newly formed commission charged with promoting educational awareness programs the African slave trade, slavery in America and the many contributions African Americans have made over the course of United States history.

The conferences will be held on May 5, in the Livingston College Student Center, Rutgers University; on May 6 in the College of Education, William Paterson University, Wayne; and on May 9 in the A Wing Auditorium of Richard Stockton State College, Pomona. The

May 5 and May 9 conferences at 8:30 a.m.; the May 6 conference will begin at 8:15 a.m. All three conferences will conclude at approximately 1 p.m. News media are invited and encouraged to attend.

Dr. Colin Palmer, a member of the Amistad Commission, will be the keynote speaker of the May 5 event at Livingston College, beginning at approximately 9:20 a.m. Other speakers include Commissioner of Education William L. Librera; Dr. Arnold Hyndman, State Board of Education member and dean of Livingston College; and Assemblyman William Payne, co-sponsor of the Amistad Bill (A 1301). Note: Commissioner Librera and Assemblyman Payne will deliver remarks at all three conferences.

Keynoting the May 6 conference at William Paterson University will be

Dr. Lenworth Gunter, director of the Africana Institute of Essex County Community College. The program will also feature presentation on exemplary classroom lessons and activities from Beverly D’Amico, Madison Public Schools, Casey LaRosa, Montclair Public Schools; and Jose Velazquez, Newark Public Schools.

Secretary of State Regena L. Thomas will keynote the May 9 program at Stockton State University. Joining her on the program will be Dr. Clement Alexander Price, professor of history and director of the Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience, Rutgers University, Newark Campus. He is the foremost authority on the black New Jersey past by virtue of his Freedom Not Far Distant: A Documentary History of Afro-Americans in New Jersey (1980).