North Hempstead community members honored for roles in civil rights documentary

The Island Now
(Left to Right Front Row seated): Alan Ginsberg; Jahad Hoyte, President of Student Government, Messiah Gaymon; Dr. Hazel Dukes; Marge Rogatz; Eugene Burnett; Rev. Edward Corley. (Photo courtesy of the Town of North Hempstead)

North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth is proud to announce that NHTV Studio Director Alan Ginsberg, North Hempstead Council Member Lee Seeman, Reverend Edward Corley of Mt. Olive Baptist Church of Manhasset, Alan Reff of East Williston, and other activists were recently inducted into the Farmingdale State College’s Social Science Research Institute’s Social Justice Distinguished Scholar Academy for their roles in the town-produced documentary Defining Moments: The Civil Rights Movement in North Hempstead.

Director Alan Ginsberg 

Alan Reff of East Williston

The social justice award was presented by Farmingdale Distinguished Teaching Professor of Sociology Dr. Miriam K. Deitsch, who created the award to honor those who promote the cause of social justice.

Dr. Deitsch, Supervisor Bosworth, and Suffolk County Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory also honored Gene Burnett, 90, a Civil Rights warrior and NAACP activist who fought a battle after returning from the war to obtain a house in Levittown with his family but was denied.

“It was so meaningful to see these civil rights heroes honored for their work in social justice issues,” said Supervisor Bosworth. “Having the Town’s documentary featured at Farmingdale State College was a wonderful opportunity for students to learn about the Civil Rights Movement and to meet these activists in person. I am grateful to Dr. Deitsch for coordinating the event.” 

“Knowing that our Civil Rights heroes felt honored by all in attendance was a special gift; the joy in the ballroom was palpable and contagious,” said Dr. Deitsch.  “We are grateful for their lives, their service, and their generosity. And to all who shared this glorious day, may we all be inspired into the future to embrace the cause of social equity and justice illuminated in “Defining Moments.”

The event included a showing of the film Defining Moments and a question and answer panel with the film’s participants. More than 100 people attend the screening and award ceremony at Farmingdale State College’s Campus Center Ballroom.

Those also honored included:

Marge Rogatz (Port Washington)

Dr. Hazel N. Dukes (NYC)

Bernice Sims (Mineola)

Bernice Roberts (Westbury)

Rabbi Jerome Davidson (NYC)

Saul Weinstein

Peter Kornblum (Kings Point)

The film was directed by NHTV Studio Director & LIXI Studios President Alan Ginsberg and was funded by a grant from the National Park Service (NPS). The 40-minute documentary represents nearly two years of research, interviews, filming, and editing. In addition to the documentary, individual “oral histories” of more than a dozen North Hempstead residents who had a role in the Civil Rights Movement are available for viewing at

For more information, or to receive a complimentary DVD of the documentary, call 311.

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