W. A. Pattillo High School National Alumni Association Inc. will present the Second Annual Winter Gathering.
A Trailblazer Awards Ceremony featuring African-American Art Exhibitor Urmila Smith at 7 p.m. Feb. 7 in the Thomas S. Fleming Center at Edgecombe Community College’s Tarboro campus.
Urmila Preston Davidson Smith was born in 1942 in Jamaica Queens, New York. She was educated in New York Public Schools, graduating from Jamaica High School. She is a 1964 graduate of Wyckoff Heights School of Practical Nursing in Brooklyn and has attended New York University and Edgecombe Community College.
She has spent some 45 years as a health professional/nurse as a career. Concurrently, she developed an outstanding career as an exhibitor of African-American artifacts. From early efforts as a young girl salvaging autographs of such performers as Della Reese, Duke Ellington, Sammy Davis Jr. and many more that her father collected beginning in the early 1940s as a singer on the “Chitterling Circuit,” this turned into a special interest of hers as she got older. Her interests moved fast forward with other items of importance to the black community.
Soon her memorabilia included a plethora of artifacts that recorded and signified major milestones in the lives of black people. Notable were original tins from Famous Amos, Uncle Bens and Louisiana Coffee; magazines and literature such as Ebony, Sport Illustrated, Essence Magazine, Muhammad Speaks, the second edition of the S.N.C.C. newspaper and The Panther Paper. Many date back as far as the early 1950s.
The collection also has a display of artifacts displaying the military conflicts that blacks have fought in, inventions and the first of black accomplishments in politics, theater, music, dolls such as Betty-Boop, Black Raggedy Andy and many more. Throughout the year, she adorns her signature button hat. The buttons mark every major life-changing event in history for blacks. This is the centerpiece for conversation everywhere she goes. It is her goal in life to keep the History of Black People alive so that her four sons and children in general will not forget where they came from and what they are capable of.
Admission is a minimum $1 donation at the door.
The fifth annual Fellowship Brunch featuring keynote speaker attorney Alfred Dennis Mathewson is scheduled for 9 a.m. Feb. 8 in the Thomas S. Fleming Center, Edgecombe Community College’s Tarboro campus.
Mathewson is a native of Tarboro. As a young man growing up in Tarboro, he was a member of Union Baptist Church. He attended W.A. Pattillo High School and graduated from Bertie High School in 1971. In 2015, he received an honorary diploma from the W.A. Pattillo High School National Alumni Association.
Mathewson is an emeritus professor of law and former co-dean of the University of New Mexico School of Law. He earned his B.B.A. from Howard University in 1975 and his law degree from Yale University in 1978. From 2009 to 2014, he served as the acting and interim director of the UNM Africana Studies Program. From 1997 through 2002, he served as the associate dean of academic affairs.
He is a member of the American Bar Association and the American Law Institute. He is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. He has served as president of the New Mexico Black Lawyers Association and the Sam Cary Bar Association in Denver. He is a member and past chairman of the Section on Law and Sports of the American Association of Law Schools. He was selected as the Business Lawyer of the Year in 2009 by the New Mexico State Bar for his efforts in developing the UNM School of Law’s Business and Tax Clinic.
Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children 5-12 years of age. Tickets are on sale at the Edgecombe Memorial Library or the Pattillo Store at http://patillohsalumni.webs.com.