Englewood Makes History

Browse Items (11 total)

  • Irwin William Langston Roundtree.jpg

    Irwin William Langston "Dominie" Roundtree was a minister of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. He was born into slavery sometime between 1855 and 1865. Princeton University alumni files place his birth on September 15, 1855.

    He was one of Princeton's earliest African American graduates, earning a Master of Arts in 1895. He served as pastor of the Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church in Trenton for twenty-five years. He also was heavily involved in politics in New Jersey. He ran for state government positions, specifically the State Board of Arbitration. He ran for Delegate-At-Large for the Republican Convention in 1936.

    He might have been in Englewood and involved with the AME church in the town in 1890 and 1891. 

    He married Fannie Colson on June 21, 1888.
  • NAACP Bergen County.jpg

    Many notable residents of Englewood have been members of The Bergen County Branch of the NAACP.
  • Babatunde Olatunji.jpg

    Babatunde Olatunji was a Nigerian Drummer. His first album was "Drums of Passion" released in 1959. He founded the Center for African Culture in Harlem in the late 1960s. He also worked with other famous musicians and groups, such as the Grateful Dead. He visited Englewood and taught African music and dances to students there. Olatunji was also a Civil Rights Activist. 

    His wife's name was Amy. He had four children.
  • Dr Martin Luther King Jr. The_Record_1957_05_24_25.jpg

    The newspaper article discusses Martin Luther King's lecture at a public forum on the progress in race relations. John W. Davis was the chairman of this meeting and King visited Davis' home. 
  • Tapestry of slaves and freemen.jpg

    The newspaper article "Tapestry of slaves and freemen" describes Arnold Brown's investigation of his ancestry and the discoveries he made about his ancestors and the African-American history of Bergen county.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. .png

    Martin Luther King Jr. was a Baptist minister and a prominent leader of the civil rights movement. King's leadership in the movement began in December of 1955 and lasted until he was assassinated in April 1968. King is famous for his nonviolent resistance and protests. Some of his notable protests were the March on Washington in 1963 and the Selma to Mongomery Marches. "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" and "I Have A Dream" are the two well-known articles and speeches from King. He was the youngest man awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. 

    He married Coretta Scott in 1953. He had four children, Yolanda, Martin III, Dexter, and Bernice.
  • Calvin Vismale.jpg

    Calvin Ferdinand Vismale was a Business Administrator. He graduated from N. Y. City College School of Business Administration. He also served in the military from 1946 to 1947. He received a B.B.A. in 1950. He was appointed Agency Director of United Mutual Life Insurance in 1955, the largest black-owned insurance company. He was a member of the NAACP and the National Urban League. Vismale helped bring Martin Luther King Jr. and Babatunde Olatunji to Englewood. He was a member of Galilee Methodist Church. He became one of the first African Americans to be installed as a Chartered Life Underwriter.

    He married a woman named Mary. He had at least three children, Calvin F. Jr., Terri Renee Vismale-Morris, and Tess Marie.
  • NAACP.png

    The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is an interracial human rights organization. The mission of the organization was to abolish segregation and discrimination. It was founded in 1909 by a group of people including W.E.B. DuBois, Ida Bell, Wells-Barnett, and Mary Ovington. It gained traction due to the 1908 Springfield Race Riots in Illinois. Some founding members were involved with the Niagara Movement led by DuBois. 

    Some of the most notable actions of the movement were its activism in Supreme Court cases that fought against Jim Crow Laws and Lynching in the 1910s and 1920s. The creation of the NAACP Defense and Education Fund in 1939 which litigated the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, ending racial segregation in schools. They also won the 1946 Morgan v. Virginia, which ended segregation for interstate travel. The organization was extremely active and crucial during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. 

    The organization remains one of the oldest and most influential multiracial institutions. It continues to recognize and fight for political, educational, social, and economic rights and the elimination of race-based discrimination.
  • Dubois.jpg

    W.E.B. DuBois was a famous African American scholar, writer, historian, sociologist, and Civil Rights Activist. He was one of the founding members of the NAACP.

    He was the son of Mary Silvina Burghardt and Alfred DuBois. From 1892 to 1894 he traveled through Germany and became influenced by the historical work of Albert Bushnell Hart and the Philosophical work of William James. 

    He focused heavily on history and sociology, publishing numerous articles. He also attempted to establish journals discussing politics and ideology for a black audience. DuBois believed that African Americans should embrace their African heritage while also contributing to American society.  DuBois also believed in Pan-Africanism.

    DuBois along with other African American leaders founded the Niagara Movement in 1904 which militantly advocated for full civil and political rights for blacks. The movement only succeeded in 1909, when the NAACP was founded after rioting in August of 1908 in Springfield, Illinois caused a biracial conference over concerns of violence against blacks. DuBois also finally achieved his desire for a journal as he became the editor of The Crisis.  

    World War I caused a shift in DuBois' beliefs. He became involved in peace work. He also supported the use of Marxism to fight against racial discrimination through economic programs and institutions, which caused him to become at odds with the NAACP president. He resigned from the organization but returned in 1944. He again became at odds with the organization as he supported socialist organizations and the Progressive Party during the rise of anti-communism.  

    He met Nina Gomer, a student at Wilberforce University where he taught for two years, and married her in 1896.

    In 1950, he married Shirley Graham after his first wife passed away. She had a child from a previous relationship, David, who took on the DuBois name. Throughout the rest of his life, he was a member of peace movements and was continually interacting with leftist and communist party organizations. In October 1961, he officially joined the American Communist Party. His support of communism put him at odds with the American government and legal system and was restricted from travel for several years. When it was lifted in 1958 and after traveling throughout communist countries in Eastern Europe and Asia he lived the rest of his life in Ghana.
  • Screenshot 2024-03-21 at 6.09.50 PM.png

    Mary Mcleod Bethune was an important black educator, civil and women's rights activist, and government official. She founded many organizations for black women's suffrage, educating black youth, and consistently fought for gender and race equality. 

    She was invited to speak at Engle Street Junior High School in April of 1952 but was barred from speaking due to accusations of her involvement in communist subversive groups. The speech was postponed when the mayor of Englewood (1948-1953), Melvin Leslie Denning met with the President of Henry Douglas Post 58 American Legion Auxilary and President of the Board of Education. Reports made by the House Committee on Un-American Activities and the California Legislative Committee on Un-American Activities were shown. Bethune instead gave the speech at Englewood Negro Church. 

    There was a controversy over the refusal to allow Bethune to speak and the accusations the auxiliary leveled toward her. One side agreed with the decision to bar Bethune until she proved her innocence and the other denounced the actions of the leaders in Englewood for unfounded accusations. Some also believed that the Board of Education and the Auxiliary were using possible ties to communism as a means of racial discrimination. 

    Later in May, the Board of Education reinvited Bethune to give a speech. She returned in June to do so.
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