The Rochester Association of Black Journalists will publicly kick off its documentary and children’s book series project, “Rochester Legends,” at a social fundraising event April 1, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., at the Rochester Academy of Medicine.
Three living Rochester African-American notables – Constance Mitchell, Dr. Walter Cooper, and Dr. David Anderson – will be honored during the event, and the group will show a video documentary profile of each of them.
The trio will also be the subjects of the first volume of a planned Rochester Legends series of illustrated children’s books, geared toward third grade readers, about outstanding people who have made invaluable contributions to the Rochester community.
The inaugural book is slated to be published in September for distribution to libraries and public, private, and parochial elementary schools throughout Monroe and surrounding counties.
Mitchell, a civil rights activist, had become the highest elected African-American official in the nation when she won a seat on the Monroe County Supervisors (forerunner of the Monroe County Legislature) in 1961.
Cooper, a research scientist and educator, helped found the Urban League of Rochester, and Action for a Better Community.
And, Anderson is a founding member of the Black Storytelling League of Rochester, and Akwaaba: The Heritage Associates, an organization whose members share, and reenact African American history.
“The goal of the Rochester Legends children’s book series is two-fold: to encourage children to read and to introduce them to important people who live in the area,” Richard McCollough, RABJ president and producer of the Rochester Legends project, stated.
McCollough holds a Master’s Degree in Education, and owns Mirusmedia, a television and video production company.
Proceeds from the Rochester Legends event will go to support the book-documentary project, as well as RABJ’s Wyoma Best Scholarship for Future Journalists Fund, named for a local pioneering African-American television journalist, and other activities of the organization.
“We hope that allowing students, as they are learning to read, to read about local heroes doing positive things in their community will have a profound effect for generations to come,” chairperson of the event and RABJ Vice President Joanne Gordon stated.
Gordon is also Broadcast and Senior Editor at WXXI Public Broadcasting Council.
Tickets for the fundraiser are $50 per person, which will include food, and a wine and beer open bar.
RABJ is an organization of journalists, students and media-related professionals of color. One of its primary missions is to press for diversity in newsrooms, and advocate on behalf of black journalists. The organization is a chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists, a group of more than 4,000 members.