African Americans in Peekskill subject of photo exhibit

Show runs through end of the month

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  • Memorial march for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Led by AME Zion church. Reverend Calvin Marshall and Mayor Billy Murden on April 8, 1968

  • Baseball legend Jackie Robinson campaigning for Governor Nelson Rockefeller.

  • Ray Blue and Stan Schuka wearing new PHS marching band uniforms.

  • Roy Campanella, left with James Meredith and Franklin Roosevelt, Jr.

  • Haywood Burns with Billy McConnell with a school exhibit.

  • Paul Robeson in concert in 1947 at Peekskill Stadium.

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By Regina Clarkin

An exhibit of photos from 1890-2011, chronicling the lives of Black Americans in Peekskill, will run through the last day of the month, Tuesday, Feb. 28 at the gallery space of the Field Library. 

The show features images of famous figures such as Paul Robeson in a 1947 concert at the Peekskill Stadium at the Victory Speedway where McDonalds at Welcher Avenue is now located.  There’s the photo of baseball legend Jackie Robinson campaigning for Nelson Rockefeller and another baseball legend, Roy Campanella, meeting with Franklin Roosevelt, Jr. and James Merdetih at Caleb Peterson’s home in Waterbury Manor in Cortlandt, just outside Peekskill. 

Peekskill native Haywood Burns is shown with Billy McConnell on April 12, 1951 at Oakside school with a Colonial Village exhibit.  And Peekskill’s internationally renowned jazz player, Ray Blue is shown wearing new PHS marching band uniforms with Stan Schuka on Sept. 16, 1967. 

Curator Barbara Smith of the Field Library said she was looking for photos to run in an exhibit to commemorate Black History Month and saw that there was an exhibit from 2019 but many of those pictures were no longer available. She contacted local historian Frank Goderre who has photos from The Evening Star collection and together they came up with 27 new images to display.