Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Goal Is Reached after Two Decades

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Goal Is Reached after Two Decades

Article excerpt

Byline: Tonyaa Weathersbee

PALM COAST | This week marked two milestones for the African-American Cultural Society here.

For nearly two decades, it had been trying to get Gloria Rolando, a renowned Afro-Cuban filmmaker whose work primarily deals with the triumphs and struggles of black people in that island nation, to visit.

Last Sunday, she finally did.

Rolando made a stop here after appearing in Atlanta and en route to other U.S. destinations. She showed two of her films, "The Jazz in Us" and "Cherished Island Memories." Her lifetime mission has been to use film to uncover those portions of black Cuban life either lost or buried in history.

"I am very curious," Rolando told me. "I like to explore the history of a people, how they got there, what happened to them."

A SHARED GOAL

The cultural society shares that same mission, and it now will have more leeway to accomplish it: In addition to bringing in Rolando, it paid off the mortgage on the center it opened in 2001.

"Our members built this building through dues and fundraisers," Edmund G. Pinto Jr., president of the society, said. "The building is completely ours."

Besides the remarkableness of the society building a center with no public funds is the fact that most of its 300 or so members are retirees, people who one would think would come to Palm Coast or north central Florida strictly to wind down and not get wound up about a building or, for that matter, history.

Many of the retirees, though, are from New York City and places where cultural offerings and diversity are part of the community fabric. One of its more prominent members was Shirley Chisholm, a New Yorker who became the first black woman elected to Congress and who in 1972 became the first woman to run for the Democratic presidential nomination. She retired to this area and died in 2005. …

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