July 11, 2018

Joint Effort 2018 Plans 10-Day Witherspoon-Jackson Celebration

By Donald Gilpin

“Witherspoon-Jackson Community: Stories Lived, But Seldom Heard” will be the theme of the 2018 Joint Effort Princeton Safe Streets Summer Program (JEPWJ) from August 2-12, with this year’s celebration dedicated “to all of our ancestors who passed this year, especially Jim Floyd,” said lead organizer John Bailey.

Started more than a decade ago by Bailey and Witherspoon-Jackson (WJ) resident and historian Shirley Satterfield, the JEPWJ program this year will retain its focus on community, history, personalities, and families in Princeton’s 20th historic district, but a number of new events will take place during the 10-day celebration, including the first Jim Floyd Memorial Lecture delivered on Saturday morning, August 11 by black futurist Chet Sisk, who will discuss the recent world paradigm shift and its impact on Princeton.

Other JEPWJ highlights will most likely include a one-man show on slavery, coinciding with an art exhibit featuring local artists; a dinner party and cabaret at Princeton Country Club on Friday, August 10; a Gospel Fest with area gospel choirs gathering at First Baptist Church of Princeton at 5 p.m. on Sunday, August 5; “I Remember When,” an historical discussion and conversation on service to the community on Tuesday, August 7, with a look at the lives of Paul Robeson, Jim Floyd, Albert Hinds, Doris Burell, Jossie Broadway, Pete Young, Ruth Parker, and others; a kick-off reception at Studio Hillier on Friday, August 3 at 5 p.m., and various other community gatherings.

Sponsored by many Princeton businesses, community leaders, community organizations, and individual citizens, the 2018 JEPWJ will also feature a walking tour, yard sales, workout and conditioning sessions, a basketball clinic, and games, music, awards, entertainment, and more.

In addition to Bailey and Satterfield, lead organizers of the JEPWJ celebrations include Bob Hillier, Lance Liverman, Leighton Newlin, and Mildred Trotman. “They have all committed time and money and effort to make sure our history is not forgotten,” said Bailey. “It’s a labor of love.”

Bailey, who now lives and works as a political consultant in Denver, returns frequently to the Princeton community where he grew up. “I owe it to myself and the town to engage the community as often as I can, whenever I can be helpful to the town or the schools,” Bailey said. “I genuinely care about the place. It nurtured me. “

Bailey talked about this year’s JEPWJ focus on stories from the community. “The Witherspoon-Jackson community has stories of faith, leadership, history, and community service, as well as a treasure trove of events and personalities having lived in this rich and vibrant historic black community.

“Many of these stories everyone knows, but they haven’t been told. Let’s tell them. Let’s figure out how we can make this thing work. This will provide an opportunity to talk about racism in Princeton.”

Bailey went on to emphasize the importance of such conversations and events in the current political climate. “Especially now with the destructive tactics being used to keep us apart, we have to keep focused on what brings us together. I’m holding all of us accountable. Democracy is elusive. We still have work to do.”