Lincroft, NJ –“Growing up Black in the Segregated South”, an interactive panel discussion, will be held at Brookdale’s Lincroft main campus on February 11 and at the Freehold Western Monmouth Branch Campus on February 26. A panel will also be held at the Manalapan Monmouth County Library Headquarters on February 13. The Brookdale programs are each $4; the County Library program is free and part of The Big Read.”

On Monday, February 11, beginning at 11:00 a.m., Gwen Moten and Floresta D. Jones will lead the panel in the Warner Student Life Center, Lincroft. Without the intercession of her mother, Moten would have been one of the tragic Civil Rights victims in the 1963 church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, the bombing that killed four little girls; one of them Moten’s best friend. Today, Moten is an arts and cultural educator, singer, conductor, historical writer, United States Cultural Representative and international traveler.  Her company, Theatre World Music Service, formerly based in New York City, produces music for orchestras, Broadway shows, concert and recording artists worldwide.

Floresta D. Jones, a native of Hopewell, Virginia, attended college in the deep South and Midwest where she worked as a journalist. Since 1982, she has taught a variety of writing and literature courses, journalism and business writing courses in the English Division at Brookdale. She is a full-time faculty professor and in past years has taught courses in African-American history.

On February 13, Ray Dothard will present Growing up Black in the Segregated South at the Monmouth County Library Headquarters, Manalapan, at 10:00 a.m. There is no fee for this program. On February 26, Dothard will present Growing up Black in the Segregated South at Brookdale’s Freehold Western Monmouth Branch Campus, room 103-104 at 11:00 a.m.  Admission is $4.

Born in Choctaw City, Alabama in 1941, Dothard will share his eyewitness account of growing up in a segregated world, including memories of the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott of 1956 and his experiences as a student.

Dothard’s paternal grandfather was born into slavery in 1857.  Dothard entered the United States Air Force Pilot Training program in 1964, and as a fighter pilot, completed 138 combat missions in Vietnam.  His celebrated career included commercial pilot positions and a notable private charter in 1990 when Nelson and Winnie Mandela took their first trip around the United States. Dothard has been a resident of New Jersey since 1976.

“We are excited that The Big Read is underway.  Our many partners including Brookdale Community College, Monmouth County Arts Council, Monmouth County Library System,  Monmouth County Correctional Institution, Lunch Break and others have helped us plan more than 25 events across the county,”  said Dale Daniels, Executive Director of Chhange. “Thousands of community members, middle school, high school and college students are committed to come together in special events, book discussions, film series and dramatic performances that will examine ‘A Lesson Before Dying’ and its pertinent themes.”