The First Black History Is No Mystery Gala Event honoring Dr. Alvin Poussaint.

 by Adrianne Dillion

On May 4, 1995, Black History Magazine presented its Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr. Alvin Poussaint at a gala celebration and fund raiser at the Four Seasons Hotel. The psychiatrist told a gathering of about 200 people to make noise and demand justice.

A consultant on self-esteem to the Bill Cosby Show, he said that a moral commitment to constructive action was the best way to build pride and boost self-confidence.


Dr. Poussaint is a dean at Harvard Medical School and author of several books about children, race, and urban life.

“We only had 30 days to plan this,” said William Singleton, Jr., Publisher of Black History Magazine. “We had no date, no place, and no money.” But in the month after Dr. Poussaint agreed to accept the award and give the keynote address, the details feel l into place with prayer and a lot of hard work.

Robin Brown, CEO of the Four Seasons Hotel, graciously offered the hotel’s services, and John Harrison served as the hotel’s liaison.

Also, the generous sponsorship of NYNEX, the Department of Public Health, Neighborhood Health Plan, Fleet Bank, Arnold Fortuna Lawnor Cabot, and Boston Edison Company made the evening a success.

Ron Leavell of Main Events, coordinator of Harbor Lights and Stepping Out, the fund raising event for the Dimmock Community Health Center, helped to organize the event. Others involved in the planning were

Monet Glaude (who also served as prayer captain),

Sharon Rowlett,

Bob Moody, Lee Jones,Mukia Gomez Baker, Kevin Macaroy.

Participants in the celebration included

Andre Ward,

gospel singer Dennis Montgomery with the choir of Concord Baptist Church, and 12th Street Baptist Church 

Wyatt Jackson,

Monet Glaude whose short musical drama “Jack’s World” gave a message about families and self-esteem,

Veronique Smith who sang “Lift Every Voice and Sing” in French and English,


and Roxbury Outreach Shakespeare Experience.

Many notables and community leaders were in attendance,

such as talk show host Christopher Lydon, Fiona Niven (daughter of movie star David Niven),

City Councillor Gareth Sanders,

State Representative Gloria Fox,sponsor of legislation that created the Coimmunity Development Fund Corporation,

Dianne Wilkerson, the first African-American woman to serve in the Massachusetts Senate,

Patricia Long,

Robert Saltonstall,

George Guscott,

Josh Handy,


and T.C. Carson.



“I want to thank Margaret and Elizabeth Singleton, writers, Arthur Seymore, our marketing director, Adrienne Dillon, our managing editor, Brenda and Cesar Martinez who are handling our financial planning, and Barnard Casey who is doing our graphics, and e everyone else who had contributed to the magazine’s growth,” said Singleton.

“We do these events to make people aware of the importance of our history,” said Singleton. “We prize freedom of speech as the foundation of democracy and the best way to make sure that we remain free.

We must challenge the notion that only rich white males can tell stories, can publish, can win the advertising contracts that America has in its coffers for media outlets. This is a testament to freedom of speech.

Everyone is important enough to have their stories told and to be part of the American Dream. We have a story worth knowing. Truth is for everyone. Black history is part of that truth. Black history is for everyone.”

Another gala event is being planned for next spring.



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