01/25/13 10:30am

COURTESY PHOTO | First Baptist Church’s performance at the 2011 Riverhead High School’s annual Black History Month Unity Celebration.

Riverhead High School has scheduled its annual Black History Month Unity Celebration for Feb. 12 at 6:30 p.m. in the auditorium.

The event will feature student presentations and performances from local community members and groups, including:

• Riverhead High School Steppers
• First Baptist Church
• High school students Jenny Corbin and Robert Brown reciting poetry and speeches written by black poets
• Slideshow of famous black Americans
• Presentation of colors by the NJROTC
• The district’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Award

The event is open to the public. For more information, call (631) 369-6700.

02/04/12 11:07am
02/04/2012 11:07 AM

COURTESY JAMES T. JOHNATHAN FAMILY: One of the photos of old Bay Shore on exhibit at the Suffolk County Historical Society in Riverhead.

Suffolk County Historical Society in Riverhead opened an exhibit of unusual family photographs last night in honor of Black History month.

The exhibit features the work of photographer James T. Johnathan (1887-1966), a pioneering African-American entrepreneur who documented the diverse hamlet of Bay Shore for more than a half a century.

His work was brought to light by Susan Barbash in a film she produced, ‘The Bay  Shore Story … a Small Piece of the World,” in 2009. She said the movie was intended to capture the community, which she said was segregated although diverse.

Mr. Johnathan was a self-taught photographer and a Renaissance man. He was a barber, owner of a mom-and-pop restaurant, a musician and he led his family’s musical group called “Johnathan and His Rhythm Stars.”

James T. Johnathan

His six children performed at the 1939 World Fair and the Apollo Theater.

He moved to Bay Shore in 1916 from Harlem with his wife Lucy and lived there until his death in 1966. He was Bay Shore’s official photographer for the school district, and photographed weddings, portraits and civic events.

His grandson Kent Johnathan of Riverside, a high school teacher in Bay Shore, said he was thrilled with the exhibit. “I never thought it would come to here- from Bay Shore to Hempstead and now to Riverhead.’

The photographs on display are a sampling from 120 images in the Johnathan’s family’s private collection. They are on display at SCHS until February 29.


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01/29/12 8:00pm
01/29/2012 8:00 PM
Portrait of James T. Johnathan.

JOHNATHAN FAMILY COURTESY PHOTO | Portrait of James T. Johnathan.

The Suffolk County Historical Society will mark Black History Month with two special events in February.

Reproductions of original photographs by James T. Johnathan (1887-1966), a pioneering African-American entrepreneur who documented the diverse hamlet of Bay Shore for more than half a century, will be featured in an exhibit opening Friday, Feb. 3, with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Mr. Johnathan, a self-taught photographer, moved to Bay Shore from Harlem in 1916 with his wife and children. Working out of his studio on Union Street (now Union Boulevard), he took portraits, documented the community’s everyday and special events and served as Bay Shore School District’s official photographer. The works in the exhibit represent a sampling of the 120 images in his family’s private collection.

The show will be open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 12:30 to 4:30 p.m., through Feb. 29.

Tuskegee airman Lee Hayes.

Tuskegee airman Lee Hayes, courtesy of the Lee Hayes private collection.

Tuskegee Airman Lee Hayes of East Hampton will be honored at an event Wednesday, Feb. 15. One of the country’s first African-American airmen, Mr. Hayes will give a first-hand account of his unique experiences as an Army Air Corps bombardier during World War II, and SCHS will present him with an honorary plaque. The program will run from 11 a.m. to noon, preceded by refreshments at 10:30.

The Suffolk County Historical Society is located at 300 West Main Street in Riverhead. For more information, call 727-2881.