ANTIGUA& BARBUDA PROGRESSIVE SOCIETY UNVEILS OFFICIAL SIGN AND WELCOMES NEW MEMBERS Friday 13th January 2012
Photos recapping the unveiling of the plaque.
As the Antigua & Barbuda Progressive Society (ABPS) continues to celebrate its 77th Anniversary year, members of the longest surviving organization of Antiguan and Barbudan nationals have hailed it as the year of “double prosperity.”
Last Sunday, the members hosted a special Thanksgiving service and ceremony to induct six new members and unveil a new wall plaque. Placed on the façade of their headquarters, a brownstone known as The Antigua House, the plaque will symbolize the legacy of the community spirit of the ABPS. This historic landmark is expected to solidify the organization’s presence in Harlem as a beacon of Antigua & Barbuda’s history and the struggles and successes of early immigrants to the United States. There was also a showcase of preliminary renovations and repairs, part of an ongoing enhancement drive aimed at improving the overall aesthetics of this historic building.
Son of the founder of the ABPS, Bishop James P. Roberts, Jr. recounted the genesis of the organization that was formed in Harlem, 100 years after the emancipation of Antiguan and Barbudan slaves. During the Great Depression there was an outpouring of community spirit to assist fellow nationals who needed social services and were not provided for in President Roosevelt’s social reform initiatives known as the “New Deal.” In the years that followed the Society made significant contributions to the Public Library, churches and other organizations, back home in Antigua and Barbuda.
“ABPS has truly been the stronghold of Antiguan and Barbudan immigrants and the organization served as a model community group and inspired the creation of similar civic associations among various immigrant groups in New York City.”
Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Ms. Maria Roz Olatunji gave a financial report for 2011 and indicated that the ABPS has been blessed and has significantly improved its financial position. She announced that one of the main goals for 2012 is the re-instatement of the organization’s 501(c) (3) status which officially designates the organization as a legitimate not-for-profit organization. Ms. Olatunji also announced the deposit of historic documents to the world renowned Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, which is expected to be on display during the Fall of 2012.
Director of Tourism for Antigua & Barbuda USA, Ms. Derede Samuel-Whitlock addressed the audience and commended the organization for keeping the community spirit alive. She suggested that the ABPS and Antigua House become a major tourism attraction for a pre-trip experience to Antigua & Barbuda. Ms. Samuel-Whitlock also announced plans to host a Harlem Cultural Walk later this year for travel consultants in the Tri-State area. “The tour will showcase life in Harlem and will include stops at historic landmarks including the Schomburg Center to see the ABPS exhibit, the Apollo Theater, minority owned art galleries and boutiques in the area and end with a luncheon at The Antigua House.”
Ms. Michelle Lightfoot also gave an inspiring address as she represented the office of the Consul General for Antigua & Barbuda.
Last Sunday’s ceremony was officiated by ABPS President, Ms. Jasmine Mack and Vice President, Ms. Gina Philip and the vote of thanks was given by Recording Secretary, Ms. Mona Wyre-Manigo.
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