Rabbi Dresner MLK Lecture 2023

During Erev Shabbat Services, join us for our Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Lecture
Friday, January 13, 7:30 pm 
Guest Lecturer Jimmy Richardson on “All King’s Men”–a story about the men and women that stood shoulder to shoulder with MLK

Also, participating in the evening is 
Guest Musician Ronald A. Foster, 
Director of Worship at Madison Ave. Christian Reformed Church of Paterson, NJ 
Guest Soloist Jay Arrington

Jimmy Richardson is a native son and community activist from Paterson. His interest in the area’s history began many decades ago when he was the photographer for the Paterson Greater News, an African-American newspaper syndicated in Paterson and Newark. Jimmy was under the tutelage of Dr. Nathan Wright, editor of the paper and author of the book Ready to Riot, and of Sol Stetin, the well-known labor leader. As a result of his friendship with Stetin, Jimmy was invited to research and photograph the “Dublin” section of Paterson
for the Life and Times Exhibit covering 100 years of Paterson as an industrial city. The exhibit was a collaboration of the Botto House Museum, the Passaic County Historic Society, and the Paterson Museum.

For a time, Jimmy was an archivist in the New York Times micro-film department that lead to his researching and producing a documentary film, Freedom Fighter that looked at the decision to make Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday a national holiday. Freedom Fighter premiered at the Grand Opening of the Paterson
Museum in 1982. The film lead to an exhibit at the New Jersey Historic Society in Newark, followed by the historic designation of the Community Baptist Church of Love in Paterson, the last place MLK spoke before his Mountain Top speech and his assassination in Memphis. Jimmy has successfully achieved land mark status
for several African American Churches with cultural and architectural significance to Black communities.

In 2019, for the 400th anniversary of 1619, the year the first African slaves were brought to America, Jimmy was asked by the National Park Service (NPS) to host the National Bell ringing ceremony at the Great Falls Park in Paterson. He continues to work with NPS as a spokesman for Negro League Baseball and Hinchliffe Stadium, and with the US Veterans Administration to identify and honor African-American Veterans. He is also engaged in an eight-year research project to secure certification for Paterson`s Underground Railroad sites from the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom, a department of the National Parks system.

Jimmy has written a series published in the Passaic County Pulse called “The Anthology of Us,” a study of the African-American presence in Paterson. He is often referred to as the chief historian of Paterson’s African American community. Jimmy also has a special kinship with the Jewish community in the Paterson area,
having grown up in a culturally mixed neighborhood where his ambitions were supported by the Black church and by Paterson businesses, many of which were owned by members of the Jewish community. It was in the spring of 2021 in collaboration with the Great Falls National Park that jimmy’s first book was published in titled Slavery at the River’s Edge. In October of that same year As a result of the 1619 project The Freedom Bell was unveiled at the Huntoon Van Renslaier Underground Railroad site in Paterson NJ. After the death of Rabbi Israel Dresner Jimmy was asked to participate in a International memorial that was followed by an interview in preparation for a documentary that speak to The Rabbi’s life’s work. On March 29th 2022 after nine and a half year of research Huntoon’s Corner was accept as a new listing on National Park Service Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. Jimmy continues to work with the City of Paterson, St. Joseph’s Hospital, First Baptist Church in Paterson, and the Jewish /African American Alliance to bring about a better tomorrow.

Guest Soloist, Jay Arrington

Jay Arrington is a resident of Washington, NJ and currently works as a
Substance Abuse Counselor. Mr. Arrington is a singer, songwriter, author
and playwright. He is the founder of Poetry Emotion by Jay, an inspirational
greeting card company, which specializes in poetry based on scriptures. He
is also the founder and president of Poetry Emotion Productions, LLC, a
501(c)3 non-profit organization that focuses on the cultural arts.

Guest Accompanist, Ron Foster

Ron Foster is currently Director of Worship at Madison Ave. Christian Reformed Church of Paterson, New Jersey. His former musical work with groups from the Philadelphia Sound era in the 1970s afforded him the opportunity to experience valuable on-the-job training in the recording studio and live performance.

It also allowed him to further his talents in the Gospel Music world with the tools necessary for upgrading and taking Gospel music to a higher level of professionalism which is required when working with musicians and singers who have studied their craft and maintain a high degree of presenting their work.

Ron appeared on the Don Cornelius “SOUL TRAIN” Dance TV show, the Gene Woods Dance show , and the Mike Douglas show out of Philadelphia on keyboards with the then popular group “Ecstasy Passion & Pain” with lead vocalist Barbara Roy Gaskins. Ron also did a stint overseas with Gospel Saxophonist Mel Holder touring in
Japan. He can be found performing presently as Leader/Keyboardist with a local Gospel-Jazz ensemble Ronfo & “Kindred Spirits” This group is comprised of local musicians as horn and string players with a rhythm section. Horns and strings are provided when larger venues and budget permits.

Ron has conducted orchestras in theaters in Boston Mass, New York, Newark NJ, Philadelphia PA, and Washington D.C. These shows included artists such as Russell Thompkins Jr. and the New Stylistics, Mcfadden & Whitehead, Manhattans, Main ingredient, Isaac Hayes, Delfonics, Heatwave, Barbara Mason, Eddie Holman, Intruders, lenny Williams, and many more of those classic soul grous of the 70s for which Ron also transcribed, arranged, and conducted the music. He was presented Conductor of the Decade in 2002 from Urbanland Productions by the producer of the BIG Show Paul Kyser the Wang Center Theater in Boston Massachusetts using a segment of the Boston Symphony orchestra to accompany the Artists. Gospel/Jazz presentations have included 28 musicians. It is Ron Foster’s desire to bring this type of musical presentation to the Gospel arena and increase the number of musicians in the orchestra.

Additional links and info can be found on my website at: RONFOMUSICART.NET
Em: pianoguy4@yahoo.com

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