The Rome Historical Society is set to host a free presentation by members of Rome’s Afro-American Heritage Association (AAHA) on Wednesday, February 20th at 7 pm. They will share their views on living in Rome, NY, since the 1950s.
Until the 1940s the African American population had never been more than 1% of the total population of Rome. With the opening of the Rome Air Depot/Griffiss Air Force Base, Rome’s African American population grew from 262 in 1940 to nearly 2,000 in 1970. Actual population numbers may have been higher due to the area’s uncounted migrant workers.
Panel member Leonard Martin, will share his experience while growing up and living in the area; Gwen Evans will share her Rome experiences while maintaining close ties to family and church; and Herbert Thorpe will share his experience as a local World War II veteran who served with the Tuskegee Airmen. Thorpe was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal in 2016 for his service and was also a recipient of Rome Historical Society’s Medal of the Order of 1777 in 2012.
These AAHA members will share their memories about growing up and living in the area during tumultuous times in our Nation’s history. The panel will be moderated by Rome Historical Society board member and AAHA President Willie Talmadge. The program is free and open to the public.
The Rome Historical Society is located at 200 Church Street, Rome. For more information, call (315) 336-5870, or visit their website.