Yesterday and Today

February 3, 2015

by Shirley Satterfield

Black and white teenagers attend a "canteen" (dance) featuring Frankie Avalon. Circa 1950's

Black and white teenagers attend a “canteen” (dance) featuring Frankie Avalon. Circa 1950’s

During the 1950’s, what wonderful times we girls in the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood had as teenagers attending our club meetings, dances, educational activities and many community events at the Colored Y! Our club was the “Darlettes” and I was the secretary!PRPlaque
Painting by Rex Gorleigh

Painting by Rex Gorleigh

Now when I attend meetings, activities, programs and give walking tours through the Arts Council of Princeton building, which is called the Paul Robeson Center for the Arts, I remember those great times at the Y (which was situated on the site of the Robeson Center) and I am proud of the information that I wrote about Paul Robeson that hangs on the wall, the pavement that I donated depicting the existence of the “Darlettes,” my name on that amazing silver donor wheel in the lobby, the commemorative quilt showcasing the people and places of the African American community in Princeton, the picture painted by Rex Gorleigh that I donated, and the photograph that hangs in the hallway showing a group of Princeton High School students waiting by the Green Street entrance to attend the PHS canteen event featuring Frankie Avalon – many of those students were in my homeroom!
When the new building was dedicated in 2008, I was proud to have been chosen to speak about the importance of the building in our neighborhood and to highlight the continued services that the Arts Council of Princeton in the Paul Robeson Center has in the Witherspoon-Jackson community.
From attending many events and fundraisers to speaking about Paul Robeson while introducing a screening of the movie “Showboat,” or talking about my experience as a student of the “Princeton Plan,” the integration of the Princeton Borough schools, I look forward to the Witherspoon-Jackson Stories Project, a series of events that will bring the community together through dialogues and sharing of our lives in a neighborhood that is the backbone of the town of Princeton.
The Arts Council of Princeton is a welcomed partner and a bridge on the corner that connects a Princeton remembered to Princeton today.

One Response to Yesterday and Today

  1. Margaret Van Dagens

    What a delightful blog. Thank you, Shirley.

    Maggie Van Dagens