Black History Month
Happy Black History Month!
This February, we celebrate the theme “African Americans and the Arts,” diving into the rich tapestry of African American culture through artistic expression. From the captivating rhythms of jazz to the evocative verses of spoken word poetry and the transformative influence of Hip Hop over the past 50 years, African Americans have shaped and enriched our cultural landscape.
As we honor the visionary artists who have illuminated our world, we recognize the resilience, creativity, and innovation embedded in their stories. Let’s also take this opportunity to appreciate the unique talents, skills, and perspectives of our African American colleagues in the workplace. Together, let’s amplify voices, share stories, learn, and foster a diverse and inclusive community.
We invite you to join us in celebrating the events across campus and look forward to your support in making this month memorable.
In my family, we went in three generations from enslaved in a cabin to serving in the cabinet of the first Black president. Change is possible. But we have to tell the story of both the progress and struggles to keep moving towards greater equity and justice.— Chancellor John B. King (@SUNYChancellor) February 4, 2023
SUNY Chancellor John B. King, Jr. speaks about his family and Black History Month
2024 Black History Month Events
“The Colorful, Historical, Inspirational, & Spiritual World of Quilts” will be on display in the Rockland Community College Library from February 15, 2024 through March 8, 2024. More about the quilt showcase…
Theater of Africa by Manonce
Two 11 x 14 acrylic- and ink-on-canvas paintings are on display in the Library throughout February.
Resources and Links
3 Main St.
61 S. Main St.
119 Main St. on Thursdays
80 E. Route 59
482 Piermont Ave.
158 S. Liberty Drive
Eliane’s Caribbean Cuisine
487 Kings Highway
2024 Black History Month
Planning Committee Co-Chairs
2024 Black History Month
Planning Committee Members
Dr. LaToya Blount
Eileen MacAvery Kane
Dr. Zenya Richardson
Melissa L. Roy, JD
Dr. Bert Shillingford
African American Quilt Showcase:
“The Colorful, Historical, Inspirational, & Spiritual World of Quilts”
February 15 – March 8, 2024
Rockland Community College Library
In the African American community/culture, quilts were not only used to keep warm, they were used to send messages using codes and symbols, tell stories, and guide passengers to FREEDOM ON THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD, and they also tell OUR STORY & OUR HISTORY.
TRADITIONAL QUILTS, MODERN QUILTS, and FIBER ART continue to tell our story.
“When making a Quilt or Fiber Art Project that person experiences being guided by colors, patterns, fabrics, and a story, that they create, develop then finally complete and share.” DOREEN M.S.
The quilts on display at RCC are examples of modern quilting that continue the tradition of telling stories with pieces of cloth.
About the Quilt Artists: All of the quilt artists are members of the Rockland County N.Y. Quilters/Needle Artist Sewing Club. Their spokesperson is Doreen Mollette-Sullivan.
Des is a visual and craft artist whose family roots hail from Montgomery, Alabama. The eldest daughter of six (6) children, Des was an award-winning dancer in high school and went on to develop and launch “DA Dance Company” at Cornell University.
As a mother of three (3) children she began hand-crafting cloth dolls with black/brown skin and African garb in response to the lack of dolls available in the general marketplace for her oldest daughter.
Des is also a sewist. Already accustomed to sewing garments and articles of clothing as a 13-year-old in high school, and as a student in college. Des continued sewing by making clothing for her children and now, her grandchildren. She will eventually launch a line of clothing for children.
With the skill set to sew and a knack for working with various types of fabrics, Des began quilting and had two quilts for display and is working on a few more of varying complexity. The unique stitching and embroidery reflect soft, earthy tones and inviting warmth.
Quilts by Deseria (Des) Adams-Ramos on display at RCC include:
- Of The Earth
- Memory of Grandma
I learned the magic of working with my hands and the power or creating at an early age. My Mom taught me to sew, my great Aunt taught me to embroider and crochet, and my dad was always building something.
I graduated in 1972 from Pratt Institute with a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a focus on fashion art and design and some Jewelry making. Upon graduation I spent years refining my jewelry skills. In 1981 I began to build my award-winning jewelry design company, Donna Chambers Designs Inc. I’ve spent 35 plus years creating and manufacturing a line of gold and pearl jewelry, exhibiting at major jewelry trade shows, and selling to stores coast to coast. Including Fortunoffs, Nahoku Stores of Hawaii, Bloomingdale’s, ShopNBC, African American Smithsonian Museum, to name a few.
In 2007 business slowed down a little and I decided to pull out the old Kenmore sewing machine and learn to quilt. I am now retired, and I have quilt fever. I never dreamed I’d be introduced to so many different types of quilts, quilting techniques, rulers, rotary cutters, and wonderful ladies. I teach classes, enter quilt competitions and I’ve won many ribbons including Best of Show three times. So, I continue to love creativity and working with my hands. I believe there’s truth in the old saying. “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop” so I continue to stay busy.
Quilts by Donna Chambers on display at RCC include:
- Twin Donna
- Birds & Butterflys
- Wakanda Forever
- Miss Pearls Pussy
- Praise Dancing
In junior high school and high school home economics, I learned how to sew, design, and create patterns for clothing.
In 1977, mother, Thelma Rillie-Mollette and myself started the first Rillie Family Reunion. In 1991, at our reunion, I thought of making a “Rillie Family Quilt,” so I asked each family to send me a 9×9 or 12×12 square block of fabric with the names of their family members. I received tee shirts with pictures of that family, a cut up wedding dress, baby’s first receiving blanket, fabric painted and embroidered with names on material, etc.
In 1998, with the help of my aunt Miriam Rillie and my cousin Debra Eurie, our ancestral quilt was made. King sized, colorful, beautiful and with our history dating back to the 1800’s. This quilt is displayed at every family reunion for adults and children to see and learn the story and history of the Rillie family. Since 1998, two more generations have been born, thus a new “Rillie Family Quilt” must be made.
In 2011, my second quilt was made (hand sewn and very challenging), with several hundred cut pieces of paper and fabric hexagons used. Since 2011, I have made over 60 quilts (tied and long-armed quilts), four wall hangers, one tote bag and 30 antipill fleece blankets.
Each artwork is colorful, creative and several tell a historical story.
Quilts by Doreen Mollette-Sullivan on display at RCC include:
- Rillie Family Reunion
- Grandmothers Garden – NEFERTITI
- Underground Railroad – HARRIET TUBMAN
- Our Ancestors Forever
- Toussant’s Stacked World
- Black Lives Matter
- Shoo Fly
- Snow Ball
- Inspiration of Life
- Circle of Circumstances
- African Queens III
Ronald initially joined the Sewing Club because he wanted to make himself a suit. He learned how to sew, using a needle, a sewing machine, cut a pattern and identify sewing tools. He has become an awesome and talented quilter, making several large quilts for family members. However, he has not as yet made his suit and truly enjoys making quilts.
Quilts by Ronald Porcher on display at RCC include:
- RoseLee My Dream Queen
- My Waffles
I am relatively new to the world of quilting, having delved into this artistic medium at the onset of the pandemic in the fall of 2020. Since then, quilting has become not just a hobby but a consuming passion. Listening to the hum of the sewing machine and the tactile experience of working with fabric have become comforting companions during these uncertain times. My quilting journey has been a delightful exploration of creativity and craftsmanship.
One aspect that truly fuels my enthusiasm is the joy of playing with vibrant and bold fabrics. I find myself drawn to an eclectic array of colors and prints that breathe life into my quilts. My appreciation for quilting spans the spectrum, embracing both the timeless allure of traditional designs and the contemporary flair of modern quilts. There’s a unique satisfaction in mastering the intricate details of classic patterns, and at the same time, the freedom to experiment with innovative, avant-garde designs adds an exciting twist to my quilting endeavors.
As I navigate through the rich tapestry of quilting, I am continually inspired by the diverse quilting community and the wealth of online resources. Connecting with fellow quilters, attending virtual workshops, and exploring different techniques have become integral parts of my creative journey. With each completed quilt, I not only celebrate the tangible outcome but also cherish the intangible growth and joy that quilting has brought into my life. In this ever-expanding world of fabric and thread, I eagerly anticipate the next stitch, the next quilt, and the endless possibilities that await me in this beautiful realm of quilting.
Quilt by Orlando Ramos on display at RCC include:
- Alhambra Rosette
Embarking on a journey into the world of sewing and quilting has been a passion-filled opportunity for me. It all began approximately a decade ago when I delved into the art of quilting at BOCES. Teaching young girls how to sew not only enriched my skills but also ignited a desire to continue this creative pursuit.
To further my craft, I consistently enroll in classes at The Quilt Tree in Nyack, NY. These sessions have become a cherished part of my routine, offering an environment that fosters continuous improvement and provides the opportunity to learn from seasoned enthusiasts.
What brings me immense joy is the ability to weave stories into fabric, particularly through memory quilts dedicated to my family. The process of transforming worn shirts into meaningful and beautiful quilts has become a distinctive hallmark of my work. It’s more than a hobby; it’s a heartfelt expression of love and connection through the art of quilting. As I stitch together pieces of fabric, I weave together moments and memories, creating something truly unique and special.
Quilts by Joan Raynor on display at RCC include:
- Vacation Memories
- Bleeding Heart
- Dancing Ladies
- In The Garden
- Call To Serve
Frances loves to share her blessings with others by teaching them to sew, quilt, knit, crochet, make dolls and other creative art and craft projects. She helps members of the Sewing Club improve their creativity and skills by challenging them with new endeavors, using their hands and mind. Having worked for many years with fabrics/textiles, patterns and designs she loves to share her experiences with others.
Quilts by Frances Thomas on display at RCC include:
- African Starlight
- Square Dream
- Star Quilt