Cultural Society pays off building early

Filed under FLGR-PALMCOAST

Here’s a toast to celebrating the symbolic mortgage burning that took place Saturday at the African-American Cultural Society (AACS).

Members raised their champagne glasses after arriving “at the very important destination. At that stop, the mortgage payments for their beautiful building had left the train.”

They threw the bash, enjoying a buffet and dance music deejayed by Donald Bryant. The hosts were: Amenities Chair Dorothy G. Robinson, Melissa Arnold, Shirley Hinds, John Reid and Seconia Reid. Included were Jean Tanner, Dora Campbell, Janice Williams, Brenda Russell and bartender Gary Wagner.

Taking part in the symbolic mortgage burning were African-American Cultural Society President Edmund G. Pinto Jr., Mortgage Liquidation Chairman James W. Allen, Board Chairman Richard P. Barnes and Mortgage Elimination Chairman Lionel Holder.

Incorporated in 1991
The society accomplished its vision through hard work involving time and talent and the support of community efforts. Its mission is to preserve and perpetuate the cultural heritage of the African Diaspora. They also rent the premises for weddings and other occasions.

It was reason for Mortgage Elimination Chair Lionel Holder to thank the members – both past and present – in that a $380,000 mortgage was paid off in 12 rather than 15 years.

Accompanied by Holder’s efforts were committee members James W. Allen, Victor R. Krause and Stephanie E. Robinson.

Following the organization’s 1991 incorporation, the timeline for constructing the cultural center involved purchasing five acres on U.S. 1 by Land Acquisition Chairman Courtland Coke – and creating an assets portfolio through past officers: President Clarence Mauge’, Vice President/Treasurer Walter Boone and Public Affairs Chairman James Robinson.

A Design and Planning Committee was chaired by Louis P. McCarthy, and in January 2001, building construction began through Chairman William Robinson with the support of a kitchen cabinet, headed by former officers: President Lionel Holder, Vice President Walter Boone, Board Chairman James T. Lee, along with Clarence Mauge’ and Phillip Horne.

The members then celebrated the 10th anniversary in their brand new cultural center on Nov. 17, 2001. Keynote speaker Susan L. Taylor, former Essence Magazine editorial director, and honorary chair Florida Congresswoman Corrine Brown were presented for the gala.

Pledges, special events
In a series of pledge campaigns, the Mortgage Liquidation Committee arrived on the scene in 2004 and presented a concert with vocalist Bartee’.

These were the endeavors by Chairman James W. Allen, Jean Boone, Walter Boone, Loretta Bryant, Evelyn Corbin, William Dabney, and William Day.

Included were Ray Henderson, Lionel Holder, Alberto Jones, Clarence Mauge’, Stephanie E. Robinson, Edwina Rucker, Jeannette Smith and Jean Tanner.

Mortgage liquidation and the other campaigns considerably lowered the debt until pay off through the Mortgage Elimination Campaign.

The building takes lots of money to run, and having pushed for funds were: Diana McKie Robinson through her creative plays, Erma and Robert Brooks by developing educational programs, Jeanette Wheeler through her Youth Reality Shows, and Lynda Baton through organizing her trips.

And so, here we were Saturday celebrating a mortgage burning with Chairman Holder, AACS president Edmund G. Pinto, Jr., Board Chairman Richard P. Barnes and Chaplain Muriel M. Carey.

A good time was had by all, including Alfredo Negron, whose wood-carved baobab tree graces the contributors’ names that paid off the cultural center’s mortgage. The baobab tree grows in Africa, providing food, water, shelter and relief from sickness.

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The Center for Contemporary Dance returns to Matanzas High School Auditorium Nov. 3, 4 p.m., at 3535 Old Kings Road North, Palm Coast.

The dance troupe will bring the adaptation of “An Evening of Dance” through “socially-aware artists who see their bodies as powerful instruments for purposeful storytelling.”

The troupe, “supported by the finest, professional-producing dance today,” made its Palm Coast debut with Ambassador Andrew Young for the African-American Cultural Society’s 20th anniversary in October 2011.

Melinda Morais of the society’s executive board has committed to bring the creative, cultural diversity of the dance company.

Tickets are $15 and can be purchased from the African American Cultural Society by calling 386-447-7030, or Aimee’s Hallmark Shop, 386-445-0985.

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As always, remember our prayers for the sick, afflicted and bereaved.

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