Gilda Rogers named 2017 Humanitarian of the Year


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Gilda Rogers named 2017 Humanitarian of the Year, by

the Monmouth County Human Relations Commission

RED BANK, NJ- Gilda Rogers, community activist, educator, author, historian and playwright, was recently named the 2017 “Humanitarian of the Year,” by the Monmouth County Human Relations Commission. She will receive this award on June 12 in Freehold.

As co-chair of the T. Thomas Fortune Project Committee, Rogers took on the herculean task, along with a group of dedicated community members to save and restore the National Historic Landmark, known as the T. Thomas Fortune House, located in Red Bank, New Jersey, in 2013. It was the former home of the social justice crusader and journalist, T. Thomas Fortune (1856-1928), who has been credited with being the bridge to the modern day Civil Rights Movement. Fortune resided in the home from 1901-1910.

Rogers, who is an award-winning journalist, has worked tirelessly to raise awareness about the important contribution Fortune made to the social landscape of America, while using his newspaper “The New York Age.” as a platform to illuminate the social injustices that African Americans faced.

“This is such an honor to be recognized for bringing T. Thomas Fortune’s story to prominence,” said Rogers, who teaches writing at Brookdale Community College.  “But, more importantly, for being able to carry on his legacy at the soon to be T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center.”

The rebirth of the home, as the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center is due in large part to Roger Mumford of Mumford Homes, who is the developer of the project.  Mumford, took on this $3 million project, after reading about the work Rogers and the committee were doing in a valiant effort to save the home.  The collaboration between the Fortune committee and Mumford is a model for development between the private and public sectors. The restoration is due to be complete in the spring of 2018.  

On Thursday, May 25, the committee will host a fundraiser – “A Happy Fortune Hour,” at Patrizia’s Restaurant, located at 28 Broad St. in Red Bank, from 5:30-7:30.  For more information about the event please visit the website  

Rogers is also the co-chair of Citizens for a Diverse and Open Society, which is a community group that meets monthly at Pilgrim Baptist Church, Red Bank, to work on improving race relations and to promote tolerance and respect for all cultures.  It was Rogers, who proposed and kicked-off the popular “Let’s Talk About Race,” series in 2015 at the Red Bank Public Library.  She credits what she does with her love for all people. “What good is a life if not to be of service to others,” Rogers said, quoting baseball’s late great, Jackie Robinson.  Rogers is also the Community Relations liaison for Two River Theater, Red Bank.  

To donate to the restoration of the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center make checks payable to: The Red Bank Men’s Club Foundation. P.O. Box 2007 Westside Station, Red Bank, New Jersey 07701.  Please visit the committee’s blog at