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Democrat Photo by Ted Waddell

REVEREND ANTHONY BLACK was the 2004 honoree at the Frederick Douglass Breakfast in Woodbourne Sunday.

In the Spirit Of
Frederick Douglass

By Ted Waddell
WOODBOURNE — February 10, 2004 – On Sunday, the Sullivan County Chapter of the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life & History (ASALH) held its 24th Annual Frederick Douglass Breakfast at the Woodbourne Firehouse.
ASALH President Bernice Musgrave presented the 2004 Community Recognition Awards to a trio of local high school graduates who went on to successful careers after school.
Since 1987, three graduates of Sullivan County high schools have been singled out for special recognition.
The 2004 Sullivan County ASALH Black History Award recipients:
• Kevin E. Anderson, the oldest son of Emery and Mattie Anderson, was born on March 17, 1972. His family moved to Monticello from Philadelphia when he was a two-month-old baby.
Anderson was baptized at an early age at the First Baptist Church of Monticello, where he remained active during his childhood.
In 1990, he graduated from Monticello Central School. In his high school years, Anderson was an outstanding baseball player and basketball hoopster. Anderson is one of three basketball players to score over 1,000 in the history of Monti hoops.
He was accepted at SUNY Farmingdale and later transferred to Sullivan County Community College, where he received his associate’s degree in criminal justice.
Anderson furthered his education at Oneonta State University, earning a bachelor of science degree. He is presently working on a master’s in education.
He resides in Brooklyn and is a teacher and basketball coach at Jim Thorpe High School.
• Antonio Darnell Bazemore grew up in Liberty. As the eldest of three children of Hersey and Debra Bazemore, he follows his mother’s acceptance of a similar award in 1993.
He graduated from Liberty High School in 1995, where he was active in sports (basketball, football and track), chorus and student council. Based upon his interest in architecture and computer-assisted design (CAD), Bazemore was selected as one of the original students to construct a home in the local community through the Wollard and LCSD program.
Bazemore studied architecture at Alfred State University and later joined the U.S. Air Force.
After being stationed at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota for four and a half years, in 2002 he and his family transferred to Tyndall Air Force Base in the Sunshine State.
Among his accomplishments in the USAF, Bazemore has been recognized for superior performance as a 5th Security Force augmentee during the ACCIG Nuclear Surety Inspection, completion of the Airman Leadership School and Seven Level Advancement Program. He is a recipient of the Air Force’s Achievement Medal.
• Eric K. Patton is the son of Pearl and Samuel “Bill” Patton. As a model student at Fallsburg High School, he excelled in athletics, lettering in basketball, as well as competing in soccer and baseball.
After graduation, Patton developed an excellent work ethic as he interacted with a diverse population in the county.
He continued his education at Orange County Community College (OCCC) and Empire State College.
While attending OCCC, Patton began his career as a respected law enforcement professional – a job with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (where as a corrections officer he received the “Rookie of the Year” award) led to a job and several promotions at the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
While employed with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Patton was a member of their special operations response team, rising to the rank of sniper.
After leaving the federal prison system, Patton was accepted as a Trooper with the NYS Police because “he wanted to be a positive role model for today’s youth and give something back to the community that he grew up in,” read the breakfast’s program.
First assigned to the NYSP barracks in Liberty, he transferred to the Wurtsboro barracks, where he served on road patrol.
Patton is currently a School Resource Officer (SRO) at the Livingston Manor and Eldred central school districts, where he hopes to “bridge the gap between education and law enforcement by creating an open and interactive environment between parents, students, school administrators and the law enforcement community.”
* * *
The first Frederick Douglass Breakfast was held in 1981, as the local ASALH chapter honored African-Americans from “various walks of life who have led interesting and worthwhile lives.”
“Each year, we discover more and more people who have built on the foundations they received in the home, in church and in the public schools to build lives valuable both to themselves, their families and the community at large,” said a ASALH spokesperson.
The Frederick Douglass Award was first presented in 1983 to Erskine Hawkins, whose career as a musician parallels a part of the rich history of American jazz.
Every year since, the ASALH has honored a person who has made a significant contribution to the life of the county.
The 2004 Frederick Douglass Honoree is the Rev. Anthony Black, pastor of the First Baptist Church.
Rev. Black’s roots go deep into the rich soil of Uniontown, Alabama. He is the fourth child of eight children born to Cleveland and Johnnie Mae Black.
Born in 1960 when times in the rural South were a hard lot for people of color, Black and his family were members of the Mount Calvary Baptist Church. He attended the town’s only elementary school for blacks and later graduated from Robert C. Hatch High School.
With a lifelong love of music and singing, he pursued his passion by joining the church choir.
In 1978, Black moved to South Fallsburg in search of a better life. After joining his uncle’s successful painting business, he went on to become foreman of the maintenance painting crew at the famed Concord Hotel until it closed its doors.
In 1983, Rev. Black was ordained as a minister and on January 23, 1989 was called to pastor the First Baptist Church.
* * *
Officers of the local ASALH chapter: Bernice Musgrave (president), Prisilla Bassett (vice president), Myrtle McKinney (secretary) and Mattie Anderson (treasurer).
The Black History Month 2004 Committee: Bernice Musgrave (chairperson), Mattie Anderson, Emmett Bassett, Prisilla Bassett, Rev. Anthony Black, William Brenner, Allan Dampman, Vernon Gibson, Michael & Vicki Gold, Lewis Howard Sr., David Kaufman, Joseph Kenny, Myrtle McKinney, Felicia Ramos, Gladys Walker, Bertha Williams and Jesse York.
* * *
During the breakfast, Ida Mae Finn, the mother of local justice and civil rights activist Josephine Finn, sat next to WJFF program host Dick Riseling, comparing notes about the event and a shared passion for hummingbirds.
“The breakfast is good because you get a chance to meet so many people that you haven’t seen for quite a while,” said Finn.
She is originally from New Orleans but has lived in the county for a good number of years.
Deacon Robert Majors Jr. of the Second Baptist Church of Middletown was called upon to perform a couple of spirited gospel songs: “Lord, I’m Available to You” and “My Soul Has Been Anchored in the Lord.”
“Frederick Douglass was a man who strived for freedom and advancement of black people and their struggles in the days of slavery,” he said.
“To celebrate Black History Month is an honor, not just for black people, but for everyone to recognize that black people have contributed a lot to this country – gifts and talents that God have given us all.”
The president of the local ASALH chapter summed up the annual Frederick Douglass Breakfast thusly:
“It means a gathering of the community together, recognizing children who have graduated from area schools and their achievements, and someone as the honoree who has done good work in the community.”
As Deacon Majors raised the rafters in song and praises to the Lord, Edward “Eddie” Carrington of Liberty joined in by saying, “It’s you, Jesus. . . . Yes, Lord, ain’t nobody can do it better than the Lord!”

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