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Southside Neighborhood Evolution: HistoryForge 1900-1950

Bob Kibbee, Nydia Blas, Gibrian Hagood

The Southside Community neighborhood provided the context for looking at families and their relationship to that community in the early 20th century. We heard from individuals, including Nydia Blas, Executive Director of the Southside Community Center, and Gibrian Hagood, Energy Educator at Cornell Cooperative Extension, whose families settled in the neighborhood during that period.  Participants invited shared their connections to the community. After the discussion we walked to three nearby houses to delve deeper into family-community narratives to learn about families from 100 years ago.

This event was a collaboration of Southside Community Center and The History Center in Tompkins County and was sponsored by M&T bank. This program was the first in a series that will culminate in an African-American community forum in the fall of 2018. The working title of the series is "African-Americans in Ithaca: People, Place and Time."

In 1918, members of the Frances Harper Woman’s Club wrote an open letter to President Woodrow Wilson hoping he would stay the death sentence on 13 black men of the 24th Infantry who were involved with the Houston (Texas) Riot in the summer of 1917. That letter was signed by Matilda Washington (president), Jessie Johnson, Enola McGill, Leona   Hammond and Margaret Thomas, and it was sent from 5 Central Ave. in Ithaca.

"Pieces of the Past: Abolitionist Frances Harper left long-lasting legacy in Ithaca" written by Carol Kammen, Special to Ithaca Journal.

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