By Renee Foster
It is quite fitting that the home of Lewis H. Latimer is the gathering place for the community to engage in discussions about Social Justice. In his life time; being one generation removed from slavery, he lived to witness reconstruction post the Civil War, the rise of Jim Crow and the Industrial Age to which he made significant scientific contributions as an inventor, engineer and draftsman.
“If our cause be made the common cause, and all our claims and demands be founded on justice and humanity, recognizing that we must wrong no man in winning our rights, I have faith to believe that the Nation will respond to our plea for equality before the law, security under the law, and an opportunity, by and through maintenance of the law, to enjoy with our fellow citizens of all races and complexions the blessings guaranteed us under the Constitution. . . .” said Latimer.
Lewis Latimer never forgot the fight for equality, nor the plight of poor, persecuted and marginalized people. As passionate as he was about science, he also had a love of language and music. He volunteered teaching engineering, mechanical drawing and English to recent immigrants at the Henry Street Settlement in New York City. And was he consistently involved in Civil War Veterans groups including the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR). Additionally, in 1908 he helped to found what is now the Unitarian Universalist Congregation Church in the community he called home, Flushing, N.Y.
Lewis Latimer’s spirit of activism lives on in these Social Justice Salons. Come; lift your voice to make the world a more just, fair and inclusive place for us all.