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T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center

Historic Sites, Monuments, Landmarks, and Public Art (National Historic Landmark)

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This was the home of T. Thomas Fortune from 1901-1905. Fortune was one of the most influential African American leaders of the early 20th century. As a journalist and editor, Fortune's articles and editorials were published throughout African American newspapers. He also challenged segregation directly, suing and winning damages against a New York establishment that drew the color line against him. Although overshadowed in life and the historical record by the two most well-known African American leaders of the era--W.E.B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington--understanding the life and legacy of T. Thomas Fortune is essential to understanding this time period because Fortune was one of the most influential African Americans of the early 20th century. He was the editor and owner of The New York Globe and The New York Freeman, which would later be called The New York Age.

T. Thomas Fortune, the Afro-American Agitator: A Collection of Writings, 1880-1928, edited by Shawn Leigh Alexander.
Signed Photo
View of the House in 2016
Rendering of The House
After War Times An African American Childhood in Reconstruction-Era Florida by T. Thomas Fortune Edited by Daniel R. Weinfeld
The Jackson County War Reconstruction and Resistance in Post-Civil War Florida by Daniel R. Weinfeld

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Fortune was born into slavery in 1856. As a young man living in the South following the Civil War, he worked in a variety of print shops. He moved north in 1874 and used this experience--as well as the skills he acquired during his short time as a student at Howard University--to become a reporter for a number of African American newspapers. 

Fortune rose to become the leading African American journalist of the late 19th and early 20th century. Under his editorial direction, the New York Age paper became the nation's most influential black newspaper.  Fortune spent most of his days writing, used his newspaper as a platform to protest discrimination, lynching, mob violence, and disenfranchisement. He also maintained an active correspondence with black leaders around the United States. 

In 1887, he created the National Afro-American League, a national civil rights organization with local and state chapters throughout the United States. Although the League was relatively short-lived as a national organization, its local chapters continued and the League itself became a model for state and national civil rights organizations in the early 20th century--including the Niagara Movement and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). 

Fortune passed away in 1928. At that time, he was the editor of Marcus Garvey's Negro World.

Since 2013, a group of concerned citizens has been working to preserve and restore this historic house under the auspices of The T. Thomas Fortune Project. On July 21, 2016, the Red Bank Zoning Board approved a plan drafted by Roger Mumford that will allow for the restoration of the home and the creation of a 31-unit apartment complex on the property. Mumford's plan is to restore the home and donate it for use as a cultural center that would include museum exhibits and programs dedicated to education, culture, and promoting tolerance and diversity. 

Sources

Thornbrough, Emma Lou. "T. Thomas Fortune: Militant Journalist." Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1972. Wlater Greason, "Fortune, T. Thomas (1856-1928)" BlackPast.org (accessed 10/25/16) http://www.blackpast.org/aah/fortune-t-thomas-1856-1928 T. Thomas Fortune House Project website, (accessed 10/25/16) http://thomasfortunehouse.weebly.com/

Address
94 Drs James Parker Blvd
Red Bank, New Jersey 07701
Phone Number
732-759-0691
Hours
Opening in Fall of 2018
Tags
  • African American History
  • Architecture and Historical Buildings
  • Asian and Asian American History
  • Ethnic History and Immigration
  • Historic Homes
  • Natural History Museums
This location was created on 2015-07-03 by Jessica Cummings .   It was last updated on 2018-06-13 by Clio Admin .

This entry has been viewed 1952 times within the past year

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