During a Black History month 10 years ago, Dixwell’s Stetson branch library was almost ... history. Ten years later, on Saturday, it was, as usual on a weekend, a hub for families to play chess, craft, and read together — as the booming branch plans to move into larger quarters across the street.
Standing in front of a movie screen on Thursday night at ConnCAT in Science Park, filmmaker Frank Mitchell recognized a lot of familiar faces in the small but attentive crowd who had come to see Unsung Heroes, his movie about New Haven’s jazz scene.
“There are folks in the audience who can tell the entire story themselves,” he said.
And soon enough, Allen “Rubbs” Williams, former bartender at the Monterey Club on Dixwell Avenue, would watch a slightly younger version of himself on the screen talk about the history and legacy of New Haven jazz — and offer some insight about how that history might shape the city’s future.
On the day that slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. would have turned 89 years old, hundreds of New Haveners gathered to celebrate his legacy of racial and economic justice, and to extend that legacy to the current fight for immigrant rights.
In one room, dozens of children learned martial arts techniques, while children in an auditorium rhythmically clapped their hands and stomped their feet as they tried to get the hang of stepping. In yet another room, people learned about local government and voter registration.
In these ways, New Haveners at Wexler-Grant School honored what would have been the 89th birthday of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
Cora May Sayles-Ashley made it to her 100th birthday with some secrets to how she got there: traveling, cooking, church-going faith, love of gospel music, and a glass of grapefruit juice and rum — preferably of the darker variety.
The city’s Small Business Resource Center graduated a small but intimate class of 13 participants Tuesday from an entrepreneurial development class at the New Haven Opportunity Center, at 316 Dixwell Ave.