Two Black pioneers celebrated in Rochester

Written by on May 15, 2024

Midge Thomas and Dr. Walter Cooper, two nonagenarians celebrated for their significant contributions to civil rights and education, were honored at the Dryden Theater at the George Eastman Museum. The event celebrated their lives and achievements and included the launch of chapbooks about each, part of the “In This Moment” series profiling Black trailblazers from Rochester. Thomas, at 97, and Cooper, at 95, shared their life stories, drawing several standing ovations from an audience of nearly 500 people. Thomas, who has been an active community organizer and advocate, was remembered for her efforts like establishing the Miss Jane Pittman Drinking Fountain in downtown Rochester. Cooper, who earned a doctorate in physical chemistry and worked at Eastman Kodak, has been influential in improving local education. The evening underscored their ongoing impact on the community, with both sharing insights that blended wisdom with calls to action, emphasizing the importance of community involvement and educational engagement.

Source: Democrat & Chronicle

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