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An Annual Celebration of Black History in New Jersey
Heath Center Media Focus

Thursday - November 1, 2001
Local News


Monmouth County Park System uses Art, Music and Dance during Cultural Celebration

By Terry Gauthier Muessig, Staff Writer

Photos by: Jackie Pollack and Jamie Scanlon

News Article Submitted to the Heath Center Committee by:

The Very Reverend Ephraem
The Monastery of Saint Barbara
Middletown, New Jersey


Reverend Kathleen Smallwood-Johnson, Esq.
Heath Center Keynote Address

I Am Because We Are...
"Americans of African Descent"

Although African-American history is normally celebrated during February, the Monmouth County Park System took advantage of the good weather in October to present its celebration.

The opening cerempny was held Saturday, October 20, with the Reverend Kathleen Smallwood-Johnson, of Asbury Park, as keynote speaker.

"I am because we are," Smallwood-Johnson said. "We are Americans of African descendants."

In consoling the country regarding the recent tragedies, Smallwood-Johnson said, "We are in a different America. Black, white, yellow, Jews, Latino, we are all one. We are praying everywhere and we are praying together.

The events celebrated were for both children and adults.

During the week, children from area schools were entertained by Magicians. An African/Caribbean theater program featured music, dance and story-telling.

On the last day, participants were entertained by a slap-stick comedy of "Amos 'n Andy", a popular sitcom in 1951.

Dr. Alan Peterson, of South Plainfield, who is Chairman for the Bertha C. Heath Black History Committee, of Monmouth County, organized the programs for the event. "We relish in sharing with the community the struggle of the pioneers and are fortunate to have as speakers some of the people that made a difference," he said.

In attendance all week was Walter Spradley, nephew of Bertha C. Heath, who celebrated the events with Peterson. On Friday, he addressed the students of Marlboro High School.

Although all but one student said they never saw an Amos 'n Andy episode, they enjoyed the humor. The program and its unique brand of humor led the way for other black performers, Peterson said.

"They were the pioneers for comedians such as Chris Rock and Eddie Murphy," Peterson said.

"I love watching black and white comedy, 'I Love Lucy,' 'Mr. Ed', and 'Amos 'n Andy' -- I saw them (Amos and Andy) once," said Craig Brown, 16, of Marlboro. "I guess it was as extreme as they could get back then, radical at best."

But, for Spradley, "The spirit of America is in all of us and he knew it would be surface." The 74-year-old added he was glad he is here to see it.

The park system usually presents African-American Heritage during February but, over the years, schools have canceled due to bad weather, said Cheryl Pearsall, Coordinator for the park system.

"This is the first year the park system has held the celebration during October."

"It was well received," Pearsall said.


Dr. Alan Peterson, Chairman of the Heath Center Black History Committee, speaks to students about African-American history and the show, "Amos and Andy."

Alton Knight,
African-American Magician




The Black Cast of the Pioneering
Black Comedy Sitcom Series,


Top: The Kingfish (Tim Moore)
Left: Andy (Spencer Williams)
Right: Amos (Alvin Childress)

The Kingfish (The Late Tim Moore)
and Lightning (The Late Nick Stewart,
also the Founder of The Ebony Showcase
Theater of Los Angeles, California,
share the spotlight of the
Amos 'n Andy Show marquee.





RARE COIN: The Kingfish swindles Andy out of a rare coin and Andy swindles it rather back by use of a clever trick in a phone booth coin slot.

NEW NEIGHBORS: While trying to get rid of neighbors who borrow everything, the Kingfish uses the crying of a baby and a sound effects record, but the plan backfires as the Kingfish is about to be evicted.

VIVA LA FRANCE: Andy, Calhoun, and the Kingfish all become engaged to a French girl named Colette Duval who doesn't understand English.

INCOME TAX SHOW: Andy and the Kingfish are frightened when they have to appear before the Internal Revenue Service. It turns out all they have to do is fill out new forms.

VACATION SHOW: The Kingfish tries to swindle Andy by taking him on a trip through Central Park and pretending it is the entire USA.

THE LIGHT BLUE CAR: The Kingfish finds himself accused of robbery when his car is used unknowingly in a holdup.


THE SOCIETY PARTY: The Kingfish and Andy try to get their ladies to wear the same fur coat at the same time, to the same party.

THE CONVENTION: In Chicago, the Kingfish gets a sample of the con game from his wife Sapphire who gets them to turn over their money to her, using a disguise, leaving the boys no money to get home.

THE GIRL UPSTAIRS: The Kingfish is convinced that his marriage is headed for disaster when he finds a diary in Sapphire's closet which mentions a rival.

KINGFISH GOES TO WORK: The Kingfish has Andy take over his job as handyman at a university and pays him with a college home study course.

THE ENGAGEMENT RING: The Kingfish plays matchmaker and arranges a match between Andy and older woman, in the hope of collecting a services rendered fee.

THE EYEGLASS: The Kingfish devises a plot to make Andy fail his road test so that he can buy his car cheaply.


HOSPITALIZATION: Andy buys hospitalization insurance from the Kingfish and then relaxes in the hospital, turning the Kingfish frantic with bills he can't pay.

THE ADOPTION: The Kingfish falls in love with a baby which is up for adoption, but instead is stuck with Horrible Horace, Sapphire's pesky nephew. With original commercials.

THE BROKEN CLOCK: Andy and the Kingfish accidentally become involved with a top military secret and the FBI when they mistakenly take a new secret altimeter clock for a replacement for their broken one.

THE BALLET TICKETS: The Kingfish gives Sapphire some stolen ballet tickets which land her in jail. She ends up in jail a second time when the Kingfish gives her a phony five dollar bill.

THE BOARDER: Sapphire maintains that her boarder, a singer with a large appetite, is a cultural asset, but to the Kingfish he is a gorging freeloader. With original commercials.


ARABIA: The Kingfish sets up a phony raffle that forces him to wind up in Arabia drilling for oil, trying to earn enough money to get home. With original commercials.

THE PIGGY BANK: The Kingfish has been stealing money from Sapphire's piggy bank and wins a quiz show jackpot just in time for his and Sapphire's 25th anniversary.

SUPERFINE BRUSH: The Kingfish, pushed by Sapphire to get a job, becomes a door-to-door salesman, persuading Andy to take over at no salary.

COUSIN EFFIE'S WILL: The Kingfish adopts Andy so that he will become eligible for a $2,000 bequest under the terms of Cousin Effie's will. With original commercials.

KINGFISH FINDS HIS FUTURE: The Kingfish takes an aptitude test and finds he should become a painter, not of pictures but of buildings and walls.


THE ANTIQUE SHOP: The Kingfish outfoxes himself when he sends all his lodge brothers into an antique shop to convince his cousin Leo to buy it, but with all those customers the store owner won't sell.

KINGFISH SELLS A LOT: The Kingfish decides to dispose of a worthless piece of property to Andy, but it's Andy who gets the last laugh.

BIRTHDAY CARD: Sapphire gives the Kingfish the third degree and wants to know why he received a birthday card signed Sweetheart. With original commercials.

ANDY FALLS IN LOVE WITH AN ACTRESS: Andy, jealous over his girlfriend's amorous scenes in a play, decides to become an actor.

KINGFISH AT THE BALL GAME: The Kingfish sells Andy a ring he finds in his crackerjack box before he finds out how valuable the ring really is.

KINGFISH'S LAST FRIEND: The Kingfish has swindled too many people and is losing all of his friends so he goes on a reform kick.


SEEING IS BELIEVING: Sapphire thinks the Kingfish is secretly dating so she decides to make him jealous by having dinner alone with Andy.

LEROY'S SUITS: The Kingfish stages a clothing sale at the Lodge using a lieutenant's entire wardrobe. With original commercials.

KINGFISH HAS A BABY: The Kingfish decides to reform because he thinks he is about to become a father.

KINGFISH'S SECRETARY: The Kingfish mistakenly signs a letter requesting a mail order bride with a letter requesting a wash woman for the building.

KINGFISH GETS DRAFTED: When the Kingfish gets drafted, his wife and his lodge brothers applaud but soon change their tune when his outfit is to go overseas.


THE GUN: The Kingfish, trying to pawn a gun, is mistaken for a robber.

YOUNG GIRL'S MOTHER: Andy wants to marry a very young girl until he meets her mother, a formidable woman he jilted many years ago.

SAPPHIRE DISAPPEARS: The Kingfish thinks Sapphire has been murdered when she leaves him in a huff and he can find no trace of her.

JEWELRY STORE ROBBERY: Andy and the Kingfish find that a snapshot they took is worth $1,000 because it shows a man robbing a store.

THE WINSLOW WOMAN: The Kingfish wants Andy to marry wealthy Mrs. Winslow, even when the not-so-wealthy woman actually shows up.

CALL LEHIGH 4-9900: The Kingfish accidentally answers a newspaper ad for a lonely hearts club, and when a girl shows up at his office, Andy poses as the Kingfish.


LEROY LENDS A HAND: The Kingfish and Andy go into the parking lot business and wind up in the used car business.
AMOS HELPS OUT: After a domestic fight, the Kingfish writes a fake letter from the license bureau stating that he and Sapphire were never legally married.

ANDY BUYS A HOUSE: The Kingfish takes a job as a real estate agent and must prove himself by selling a house on condemned land-he does, to Andy.

ANDY GETS A TELEGRAM: The Kingfish winds up on a cattle boat bound for South America when Sapphire plots to separate him form his worthless friends.

THE CHRISTMAS STORY: Andy is working very hard to earn enough money to buy a doll for his godchild.

THE DINER: The Kingfish and Andy buy a diner, which was doing a good business, and run it out of business.


GETTING MAMA MARRIED (PART 1): The Kingfish's mother-in-law elopes with a con man and a fleecer of widows.

GETTING MAMA MARRIED (PART 2): The Kingfish's mother-in-law is so set on marrying a man that even when his wife shows up she still says he is hers.

THE HAPPY STEVENSES: The Kingfish and Sapphire imitate participants in a radio show about a happy marriage, in order to change the pattern of their stormy marriage.

READY MADE FAMILY: When the Kingfish's Uncle Clarence is coming to visit, the Kingfish must put together a phony family quickly, to protect his uncle's gift of $500, he gave the Kingfish by telling him he has a child.

RELATIVES: Claiming that his mother-in-law disturbs his home, the Kingfish takes his problems to family court. Meanwhile, more relatives show up.

TRAFFIC VIOLATION: The Kingfish and Andy, co-owners of a car, compete with each other in the collection of traffic tickets.


THE TURKEY DINNER: The Kingfish is conned into buying stolen turkeys from a country bumpkin.

QUO VADIS: The Kingfish goes to a lavish dinner party at which he finds, uncomfortably, that Sapphire is a waitress.

THE CHINCHILLA BUSINESS: The Kingfish sells a couple of rabbits to Andy for $50 by telling him they are chinchillas.

THE URANIUM MINE: Andy shells out money for swampland and invests in the Kingfish's uranium mine scheme.

MADAME QUEEN'S VOICE: Madame Queen re-enters Andy's life because the Kingfish sees her money-making possibilities as a singer.

ANDY, THE GODFATHER: The love of a 12-year-old for Andy's godchild is too much for him to handle.


THE INSURANCE POLICY: A heaven-sent opportunity is given the Kingfish, Sapphire thinks he has only three weeks to live, which gives him three weeks to freeload.

THE KINGFISH GETS AMNESIA: The Kingfish gets amnesia when all of his friends come over asking him to repay old debts.

THE GIRL AT THE STATION: At a party, the Kingfish is in good with ladies and Sapphire doesn't like it at all.

THE KINGFISH TEACHES ANDY TO FLY: The Kingfish teaches Andy to fly, so that he can win back his girl from a motor boat enthusiast.

THE KINGFISH BECOMES A PRESS AGENT: The Kingfish takes a job as a press agent in order to make money to pay Andy off and get his mother-in-law's diamond pin back, but things don't work out.

THE MEAL TICKET: Sapphire wants intellectuals to break in her new dining room furniture, but the Kingfish wants to sneak paying guests in instead. With original commericals.


SECOND HONEYMOON: Plans for a second honeymoon almost fall apart when the Kingfish and Sapphire argue over how they first met.

FATHER BY PROXY: Driving a pregnant woman to the hospital, Andy is mistaken for the father when a pushy nurse forces him to sit in the waiting room.

STORY OF THE INVISIBLE GLASS: The Kingfish gets into the stock market and sells everyone short, including himself.

THE KINGFISH BUYS A CHAIR: The Kingfish buys an old chair stuffed with money and then, not knowing the money is in the chair, he gives it away.

CLICK HERE for More Details on the AMOS 'n ANDY Video Collection. Place the Words: "A and A" in either the Subject or Body of your E-mail Message.