The Rochester Association of Black Journalists will kickoff its documentary and children’s book series “Rochester Legends” at a fundraiser social from 6 to 9 p.m. April 1 at Rochester Academy of Medicine, 1441 East Ave.
The event will honor and profile three Rochester African-Americans with a video documentary: David Anderson, Walter Cooper and Constance Mitchell. They will be the subjects of the first volume of illustrated children’s books geared to the third-grade level about outstanding people who have contributed to the Rochester community.
The first book is slated to be published in September for distribution to libraries and public, private and parochial elementary schools throughout Monroe and surrounding counties.
Anderson is a founding member of the Black Storytelling League of Rochester and Akwaaba: The Heritage Associates, an organization whose members share and re-enact African-American history.
Cooper, a research scientist and educator, helped found the Urban League of Rochester and Action for a Better Community.
Mitchell, a civil rights activist, became the highest elected African-American official in the nation when she won a seat on the Monroe County Board of Supervisors — the forerunner of the Monroe County Legislature — in 1961.
“The goal of the ‘Rochester Legends’ children’s book series is to encourage children to read and to introduce them to important people who live in the area,” said Richard McCollough, RABJ president and producer of the “Rochester Legends” project.
McCollough holds a master’s degree in education and owns Mirusmedia, a TV and video production company.
“We hope as students are learning to read they will be encouraged to read the ‘Rochester Legends’ books because we believe that children reading about local heroes doing positive things in their community can have a profound effect on generations to come,” said Joanne Gordon, RABJ vice president of broadcast and senior editor at WXXI Public Broadcasting.
Proceeds from the “Rochester Legends” event in April will support the book and documentary project as well as the Wyoma Best Scholarship for Future Journalists Fund and other activities of the organization.
“We feel it is important that RABJ, as a journalistic advocacy organization, be at the forefront and continue to inform and educate the public just as our ultimate mentor Frederick Douglass did when he published the North Star newspaper more than a century ago in downtown Rochester,” said Rhonda Austin, RABJ secretary and radio operations manager at WXXI.
Tickets for the April fundraiser cost $50 and include food, wine and beer.
For information, call 585-442-3728, email joanne.rabj@gmail.com or visit bit.ly/2lZOMKU.