Coney Island’s white sands are full of black history.
Locals celebrated African- and Caribbean-Americans’ contributions to the neighborhood with song, poetry, and awards during a Black History Month party at Liberation Diploma Plus High School on Feb. 23. One of the sea-side do-gooders honored said he could not have been more proud to receive a proclamation from organizer Councilman Mark Treyger (D–Coney Island) recognizing his work in the neighborhood.
“It’s a great feeling to be honored,” said Keith Suber of the Suber Foundation, which provides free “pre-apprenticeship” construction industry training to troubled youth and recently released convicts. “Overall, the whole night was really entertaining too, there was a lot of spirit going around.
The councilman also presented local activist and Community Board 13 member Queenie Huling with an award for campaigning to open a local medical center quickly after Hurricane Sandy shuttered it in 2012.
Students from area schools including PS 188 and IS 303 read poems by Maya Angelou, Tupac Shakur, and Langston Hughes. Other student groups sang black history-themed songs. Young members of local community groups including Coney Island Generation Gap and Coney Island Youth Alive also performed skits and musical numbers, and a Coney rap duo also performed.
Students from PS 90 sang the classic civil rights protest song “We Shall Overcome” along with “A Song of Peace,” and “America the Beautiful.” It was the chorus’ first public performance — and one to remember, the group’s music teacher said.
“They were very excited, and I think that was very impressionable event in their minds,” Phyllis Hoffman said.