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Black History Celebrations In Oyster Bay

Hood A.M.E. Zion Church is celebrating February, Black History Month, with several events open to the public, explained Diane Evans, who recently moved back to this area and is their publicity chair. The first event is an African-American Poetry reading, held during their Sunday, Feb. 9 service, starting at 11 a.m. (The first Sunday, Feb. 2, the church celebrated Holy Communion.)

On Sunday, Feb. 9 at 11 a.m., there will be readings of African American Poetry during the Sunday morning service.

Saturday, Feb. 15, at noon, the public is invited to attend a Soul Food Dinner prepared by the members. It includes Southern Fried Chicken, collard greens, potato salad, yams, sweet potato pie and home baked cakes. There is no specific fee but donations are welcome.

On Sunday, Feb. 16, at 11a.m., the congregation will be honoring their African-American ancestry during the Sunday morning service. Diane Evans, a cousin of Denice Evans-Sheppard, said after she researched her family history on ancestry.com she learned a great deal about her American Indian heritage. Her mother came from Baltimore at age 4, her father is from Charlotte, NC.

“My relatives moved from the South to Oyster Bay and when they married, they mixed with the existing Indians living here. My other family name is Green,” said Diane.

Her mother Catherine is a Green; her father, 84, is Lucas Evans, currently of Oceanside.

Many of the members of the Hood A.M.E. Zion Church have families that are longtime residents of Oyster Bay, going back to before the Civil War.   

On Sunday, Feb. 23 at 1 p.m., the celebration continues with a talk by Simon Rutledge, Middle Island historian.

The new pastor at Hood A.M.E. Zion, Reverend Linda Vanager said, “Simon Rutledge will be talking about the history of the A.M.E. Zion Church, the “mother church;” and Harlem, then and now: the changes from the early days before the civil rights moment and now.”

The talk will be followed by a light lunch. There no charge, but a free will offering is welcome, she added.   

All the events take place at the Hood A.M.E. Zion Church, 11 Summit Street, Oyster Bay, on the corner of South Street and Summit Street. It is the oldest church in Oyster Bay continuously occupied by the same congregation. Sunday School is at 9:30 a.m.; the Sunday Church Service is at 11 a.m. For more information please call 516-650-9838.