Taylor, Black History Month Speaker, Stresses Merits of Determination
Taylor was not the best speller in grade school but he did not let
any academic difficulty stand in his way. Taylor, a former school
teacher and today president of the African American Historical Cultural
Society of Bucks County, encouraged students to have sheer determination
to succeed much like Harriet Tubman, in his talk, "The Underground
Railroad: What Has it Got to Do with Us?" Feb. 3rd at Mercer's
James Kerney campus.
"Not everyone is interested in your getting an education,"
he said. "You have to study hard and do the right thing. You've
got to get on the Underground Railroad but today it is above ground.
There is no free ride."
After graduating from the University of the Arts with a Bachelor
of Fine Arts degree, Taylor taught in the Bucks County and Willingboro
school districts. While at Willingboro, he helped launch the school's
public access television system, which was the first to publicize
school board meetings in New Jersey. He trained many students to
operate the equipment and to conduct interviews.
retiring, he has worked diligently as part of the African American
Cultural Society to research and document the contributions of Bucks
County African Americans and the relevance of Bristol as a route
along the Underground Railroad.
Lucia Brown-Joseph, coordinator of the African-American Student
Organization, and speaker Sidney Taylor. Back row: student Michael
Sharp with former student Gary Jolley.
|The talk drew
a large audience at the James Kerney Campus.
Bristol Borough, Pa., the Society erected the Harriet Ross Tubman Monument
along the Delaware River, adjacent to Lion's Park. According to Taylor,
the monument is the only freestanding one in the United States. The larger
than life-size bronze figure of Tubman is surrounded by a memorial walk.
Taylor's plans now call for establishing a Cultural Diversity Center.
"I don't readily tell people I am a relative," said Taylor,
when asked about his Tubman family connection. Harriet Tubman's father
and his great-grandfather were brothers. Taylor is also the father of
MCCC's Jason Taylor, Associate Director in the Financial Aid Office.
"I knew I had to make it on my own merits," continued Taylor.
"I studied hard. My uncle always said, 'never be late, never disappoint.'
That is what Harriet did and she never lost a person. She had determination,
character and moral fiber. She was my inspiration."