Carol Gordon speaking to a group about her collection of African American historical artifacts. (Photos courtesy the Locust Valley Garden Club)

Hidden History Treasures Unveiled At Locust Valley Library

By Dagmar Fors Karppi

Black History Month is being celebrated at the Locust Valley Library with a display from the collection of Carol Gordon, the founder, president and curator of Unspoken History Treasures, her private collection of African American artifacts. February is a busy month for her, as she makes presentations at historical societies and colleges all this month. On Monday, Feb. 5 she will be speaking at the NY Assembly in Albany about Black history.

U.S. Polar Explorers: stamps from Carol’s many albums, that honor African Americans.

Locust Valley Garden Club member Kassie Roth, who curates the showcase, met Carol last year when she exhibited some of her memorabilia at the Oyster Bay Town Hall, and learned that she loves gardening and wildflowers. Kassie asked if she would display her artifacts at the LV Library this year. Gordon is co-chair of the Town of Oyster Bay Diversity Committee and among other associations, is a member of MOBB – Mothers of Black Boys.
Being the mother of a young Black boy involves being responsible to teach him how to walk out into a community where he faces challenges on a daily basis, and needs to learn how to best handle them. That is a hard reality in America today.
But, Gordon takes on life bravely. She was a Patient Advocate and Mental Health Clinic Manager at the Department of Veterans Affairs, at the VA Hospital at Northport, where she served our veterans for 25 years. Her commitment to helping others is daunting. She also served as manager of the Federal Women’s Program for 22 Years,
She has had and continues to have a busy life. Mother of four, grandmother of 14 and great grandmother of four, she has accomplished a great deal with the help of her supportive family.

Carol Gordon (right) points to her collection of US Postage stamps honoring African Americans; (left) Lucille DeVito and Lauren Wallach.

It was her late Uncle Thomas Bramble who started her 50-plus year of creating her collection. She is sharing his message that, “We can’t forget our history, but need to keep the artifacts, to learn and go forward in the future.” She explained, “He knew that important historical artifacts not publicized at that time, but popular with collectors now, were rapidly being lost.”
Currently, she has enough material in her closets and on her walls, to fill a museum. She actually offers tours to groups, for a fee. Call 516-236-3493 for information.

Bessie Coleman, the first African American pilot.

She said the collection teaches you that “You have to know where you came from in order to know where you are going”.
The exhibit opened on Saturday, Feb. 3 and will be there throughout the month. The LVGC maintains Barbara’s Garden at the library, and meets there the third Wednesday of the month at 10 a.m. for horticulturally related programs, and lunch for a $15 donation. For information contact President Dean Yoder at: [email protected].
Unspoken History Treasures has recently been featured on Verizon FIOS1 series “Heroes on Long Island” and on News 12 “Black History Month Series 2012”, as well as “Diversity Long Island”. Carol also has been featured in many newspaper articles throughout Long Island.

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