Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Heritage Newsletter

Welcome to our first ever entry of our community blog!!

Did you know that June is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth is the commemoration of June 19, 1865, when Union General Gordon Granger read the Emanicipation Proclamation in Galveston informing the black citizens of Texas that they were in fact free and not slaves. President Abraham Lincoln’s decree was already two and a half years old. Today, Juneteenth is a state holiday in Texas and across the United States it is celebrated with parades, music festivals, guest speakers, picnics, and family gatherings. It is a time for rejoicing, reflection, self-improvement and planning for the future.

Come to Heritage House to find out more about the journey and how we must continue the footsteps to freedom.

This Sunday, June 18th, 1pm

Brownsville Heritage House
581 Mother Gaston Blvd.
Upstairs over the Stone Ave.
Branch Library
Call 718-385-1111
Directions: 718-485-8347

Trains: No 3 to Junius St and L to Livonia
Bus: B13, B14 to Dumont Avenue

Go here for directions:


Who is Mother Rosetta Gaston?

Mother Rosetta Gaston is the founder and visionary of Brownsville Heritage House, Inc. She envisioned an educational and cultural center for old and young which would spar individual and community achievement by focusing on a common heritage. She alligned herself with and became a close friend to Carter G. Woodson, father of Black History Month and Mary McLeod Bethune, who as an illiterate child dared to dream of opening her own school - now known as Bethune-Cookman College in Daytona, Florida. Both who instinctively knew that you must connect to the past in order to have a vision of the future.

Hence, the Brownsville Chapter for the Association for the Study of African American Life and History was launched.

Mother Gaston, as she was affectionately known realized early on that the one element missing in our community was knowledge of our culture. Too many of us didn’t know or understand our rich heritage and the many contributions, we as a people made to America. She decided to do something about it and started “the children’s cultural corner”, out of her home where she taught young minds about their history. This event laid the foundation for Brownsville Heritage House, Inc. and was the fruition of a 50-year dream. Mother Gaston at age 96 transitioned one month before Brownville Heritage House opened its doors in March 1981.

Twenty-Three years seeking to realize the dream...

Heritage House still resides on the top floor of the Stone Avenue Branch Public Library, the first public facility built specifically for children in the United States.

In Honor of Mother Gaston in 1981, Stone Avenue was renamed Mother Gaston Boulevard which runs from Broadway to Linden Boulevard covering the communities of Ocean-Hill and Brownsville. Thanks to Councilman Enoch Williams who introduced the bill and to former Mayor David Dinkins, Rosetta Gaston’s name will live on forever as a devoted leader of our people.

The Reopening of Heritage House

We give a heartfelt thanks to Councilman Charles Barron for his generosity in keeping the doors of Heritage House open by allocating funds for the restoration of space occupied by BHH. Mr. Barron has been a true statesman to his constituency not as a politician but as a humanitarian.

Brownsville Heritage House along with the Stone Avenue Branch Library has been under renovation and is soon to reopen in early spring. But will this renovation bring back the landmark status that the Stone Avenue Branch Library deserves. Did you know that this is the first library built in 1914 for children in the United States. Right down to the original stainglass windows, large fireplace and rabbit-carved benches. Is this because it’s in Brownsville? Inquiring minds want to know. WHY NOT????

Read more about re-opening in Our Time Press article

Inclusion Not Exclusion
It’s time for a change...

Wakeup Brownsville. Wakeup America. We’re under siege. Mayor Bloomberg had the audacity to fire school panel members in order to get his way and not in the interest of our children as he wants us to believe.

Did it ever occur to the mayor that if the public school system was truly educating our children there would be no need for standardized testing. It amazes me that it takes 8 weeks to train a soldier, 6 weeks to give a summer course, but our children are learning nothing within the 180 days/9 months allotted to learn a curriculum.

Yet, an eight year old must be penalized for conditions that he or she has no control over. Is this the new plantation??? Come on parents, take a stand, it’s time to take back the control of our children’s education and needs. These tests are not designed for the masses but are designed to exclude not include our children via a policy that’s guaranteed to result in failure. It is imperative that our children have the opportunity to compete not only on the domestic level but in the international arena as well. It’s time to level the playing field in all four areas - education, housing, healthcare and economics. They will not receive that opportunity until quality educators, proper educational tools in a quality environment are provided.

We’d like to hear from you. Please e-mail your comments to

A Call to Action

If you’re committed to improving the quality of life in Brownsville, then we need you. Call for an application to become a friend of Heritage House, a Board Member or part of the advisory youth board - 718.385.1111

Calling all artists....

Whether you draw, paint, dance, play music, compose
music or just a great storyteller. Come showcase your talent at
Brownsville Heritage House, Inc.

Watch for our grand reopening at the Stone Avenue Branch
Library - upstairs at 581 Mother Gaston Boulevard.

Call for more details - 718.385.1111

Stay tuned...

Remain blessed and don’t forget to TEACH THE YOUTH THE TRUTH

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