Homegoing Services: Solomon Goodrich, Pan-African Educator

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Brother Solomon Goodrich with Sister Betty Dopson, Co-chair of CEMOTAP

Homegoing Services: Solomon Goodrich, Former Chair of BEPAA and Former Executive Director Southern Queens Park Association.

9:00 AM Monday December 19, 2016

Ippolitos Funeral Home, 646 Springfield Ave., Berkeley Heights, New Jersey 07922

A statement from the Board of Directors Board for The Education of People of African Ancestry (BEPAA).

The Dr. John Henrik Clarke House, 286 Convent Avenue, Harlem New York 10030.

SOLOMON GOODRICH served for nearly a decade as Chairman of the Board for the Education of People of African Ancestry that operates at the Dr. John Henrik Clarke House and managed its educational services.

He ran the institution using the ethical teachings of our ancestors, the principles of our greatest leaders and the guidance of renowned educators and scholars.

As chairman he galvanized support for the Dr. John Henrik Clarke House through community outreach, grants and personal contacts. Solomon traveled the world to African, Europe, South America and the Caribbean gleaning information from each continent regarding education, economic and political operations. He knew the importance of education to the liberation struggle.

Solomon was a Pan Africanist and connected to conscious world leaders and remained in solidarity with them through his adult life. He was especially interested in the celebration of KWANZAA. He felt that the principles of KWANZAA were a blueprint for race progress.

BEPAA benefitted from Solomon’s leadership. His legacy will reflect that he was an achiever who always put race first.

The following are reflections on his own life penned by Chairman Solomon Goodrich.

I was born in rural Jamaica in the Caribbean and walked four miles daily to primary school barefooted till I was twelve or thirteen years old, rain or shine. I have seven sisters and one brother and six children of my own. Despite these early beginnings of challenge and poverty, it has been a glorious life of opportunity and learning stretching from the Waldensia Primary School to the Columbia Business School in Harlem where I earned a Master’s Degree in Business.

Along the way, I had a six month scholarship to Britain representing the young people of Jamaica, a six month scholarship to the University of Minnesota in Youth
Development and a dozen trips to the mother continent in pursuit of African Unity. I saw the rebellion at Columbia up close in the late sixties, spent two weeks in the Angolan Civil War in 1975 and worked many years alongside progressive people, African people and others in the political battles of Jamaica and New York.

At the Southern Queens Park Association in Queens, New York, where I spent nearly thirty years developing the 54 acre Roy Wilkins Park as a semi-independent facility,
as its President; and the past five years as chairperson of the Board for the Education of People of African Ancestry—together with the ten years (1969-1979) working for
African Unity; these are the highlights of my life’s work. All that is left for me is to write a novel that will bring the African world to tears and unity.

The following are reflections on Dr. John Henrik Clarke's life penned by Chairman Solomon Goodrich.

The many hours spent on the lower floor of Dr. Clarke’s house in Harlem was a central part of my African Education.

Surrounded by his great library, we would talk until three in the morning sometimes with Marcus Garvey Jr., sometimes alone and he would repeat the great stories of Harlem and of the African World which he had traveled so extensively.

He would speak of the meetings of African Chiefs in Ancient times as if he were present at these gatherings. Indeed, many people thought his reputation as a historian was rivaled only by his abilities as a storyteller.

John’s essential quality was his generous love of African people and his behavior to those from the continent, the Caribbean and the United States as one family.

He gave credit to the leaders of the race without distinction whether it was Anta Diop or Kwame Nkrumah or CLR James or Marcus Garvey or Martin Luther King Jr. or Malcom X to name a few. He proclaimed the emptiness of World History without the centrality of African History.

But it was on the streets of Harlem that I knew him best since I lived on 141st and Lenox and worked on 143rd and Martin Luther King. He hired me, with others to direct the Langston Hughes Child Development Center and brought the great poet to life in his many lectures on his life and work in Harlem and elsewhere.

Stationed near the subways and along the byways of Harlem, Mr. Hughes would collect material for his poetry.
He was generous with his writings. When I worked with the Congress of Racial Equality, (CORE), he would supply me with materials as I edited Core magazine.

Intellectually, he was a giant but it is his humor that remains more so with me. Once we flew over Montgomery, Alabama going back to New York from the Mobile CORE Convention and the descriptions of the scenes below and the escapades of his youth were

Lecturing in New York, I once asked him if Langston Hughes had any children. In his sincerest voice he replied “Sol, I told you he was not married."

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