Women's History Spotlight On: Educators

In March, we celebrate Women's History Month by spotlighting female-identifying educators who have been honored in the borough of Queens with place names.

1
Assemblywoman Barbara Clark Way

Barbara Clark (1939-2016) represented southeast Queens in the New York State Assembly from 1986 until her death in February 2016. At the time of her death she was the Assembly's Deputy Majority Whip. She also served as Chair of its Education, Children and Families, and Environmental Conservation Committees; and head of the Education Committee of the Black, Puerto Rican and Hispanic Caucus. She was also head of the New York State Women’s Legislative Caucus and a Commissioner of the Education Commission of the States. She was a fierce supporter of quality public education and was a leader in the campaign to obtain funds through the lawsuit of the Campaign For Fiscal Equity. She established the first magnet schools at Andrew Jackson High Schools in Cambria Heights, for she believed that the classes at the High School were too large. She supported schools in the City with such educational enhancements as video studios and legal resource centers. Her legislation included banning predatory lending and increasing support for health care. Her allocations supported important civic and educational groups in her communities. Her colleagues termed her “a bold, courageous and dedicated public servant who defended the well-being of her fellow New Yorkers in every way possible.”

Sources:

Gil Tauber, "NYC Honorary Street Names," accessed June 15, 2022, http://www.nycstreets.info/

Yee, Vivian. (2016, February 23). Barbara M. Clark, New York Assemblywoman, Dies at 76. New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/24/nyregion/barbara-m-clark-new-york-assemblywoman-dies-at-76.html

2
Persia Campbell Dome

Dr. Persia Campbell (1898-1974) was a member of the Queens College economics faculty from the school's early years, joining the department in 1940. Born in Australia, Campbell attended the University of Sydney and the London School of Economics before earning her Ph.D. at Columbia University. Her main area of focus was consumer protection and in particular, promoting legislation against "bait advertising" and other forms of fraud. Throughout her career, Campbell served as an advisor on consumer affairs and other economic issues to Presidents Roosevelt, Kennedy and Johnson, and to the governors of California and New York. She was also a frequent expert witness on consumer protection matters at congressional hearings.

Campbell was named chair of the Queens College economics department in 1960 and held that position until her retirement in 1965. The dome that bears her name was constructed in 1962 as a special architectural feature of the Social Science Building (now Powdermaker Hall). In 1977, the dome was renamed to honor Campbell; it is primarily used as a lecture space.

Sources:

"Persia Campbell, 75, Economist And Consumer Advocate, Dead," The New York Times, March 3, 1974, https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1974/03/03/97474462.html?pageNumber=51

"Persia Campbell, our woman at the United Nations," _Vida _(blog), Australian Women's History Network, March 14, 2017, http://www.auswhn.org.au/blog/persia-campbell/

3
Arlene Fuchs Katz Drive

Arlene Fuchs Katz (1934 - 2004) was a longtime community activist in Queens who lived in Jamaica Estates. Ms. Katz taught fifth and sixth grades at Public School 131 for 25 years and was a moving force in having the school named in honor of Abagail Adams, wife to President John Adams and mother of President John Quincy Adams. Ms. Katz involved herself in many issues especially those relating to women, the homeless and children. She was the first female president of the Saul Weprin Democratic Club, the first female President of the Hillcrest Jewish Center and the first Vice-Chair of Community Board 8 for many years. During her tenure at Public School 131, Ms. Katz was the United Federation of Teachers union chairwoman at her school. She became a member of the Parent-teacher Association at the three schools attended by her children, a member of the Youth Committee at Community Board 8, a leader of the Jewish charitable organization Hadassah and a member of the Queens Hospital Board.

Sources:

Gil Tauber, "NYC Honorary Street Names," accessed June 15, 2022, http://www.nycstreets.info/

Lee, Tien-Shun. (2002, January 22). Long illness takes life of CB 8’s Katz. QNS.com. https://qns.com/2004/01/long-illness-takes-life-of-cb-8s-katz

Queens Gazette Staff. (2004, September 30). On the brief side: Street Renamed To Honor Local Leader. Queens Gazette. https://www.qgazette.com/articles/on-the-brief-side-75

4
Nzingha Abena Way

The murder of Emmett Till inspired Sister Nzingha Abena (1939-2019) to devote her life to working for Justice, Peace and Equality for all. She worked in poverty programs set up in 1968 to help secure jobs for inner city youth and provide day care centers. She volunteered in the Public Schools from 1962-1973. She eventually found her calling as an educator. She attended Fordham University on full scholarship, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Education/Social Science and a Master’s in Education. She taught at P.S. 113K, P.S. 21K and Brooklyn College High School Academy. After retiring from the NYC Dept. of Education, she continued her work in the community. She was the Co-Chair of the Million Man/Woman March Coordinating Council of Queens, Inc. from 1995-2008. She was Vice President and Board member for the Varied Internship Program for more than 20 years. In that capacity she helped more than 1000 youth from southeast Queens obtain meaningful after school paid internships. Sister Nzingha was a key organizers of the Annual Black College Tour, For five years she annually travelled with hundreds of Middle and High School students to more than eleven historically Black Colleges. She also had a leadership role in organizing Youth Days, Fathers and their Families Marches and community political, education and economic forums for the residents of Southeast Queens. At the time of her death, she was also doing volunteer teaching in the after school program at P.S.156.

Sources:

Queens Borough President's Office. (2021, March 19). Borough President Richards to Preside over Street Co-Naming Ceremony. https://queensbp.org/advisory-borough-president-richards-to-preside-over-street-co-naming-ceremony/

“274822924,” OpenStreetMap, accessed December 7, 2023, https://www.openstreetmap.org/way/274822924

5
Ferrigno Place

Marjorie and Nicholas Ferrigno were founding members of The Broadway-Flushing Homeowners’ Association.

Marjorie Ferrigno (1916 – 2013) was an educator who founded the Fiorello LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and Performing Arts. She was President of the American Educational Theatre Association which represented all nonprofessional theatre in the United States, Secretary and Executive Committee member of the American National Theatre and Academy, was Chair of the North Shore Branch League, taught speech courses at several universities, a founding chairman of the drama department at LaGuardia High School of Music and Performing Arts, past President of the American Educational Theatre Association, chairman of the North Shore Branch of League of Woman Voters and steering committee member of the Economic Development Committee. She was a founding member and President of the Broadway-Flushing Homeowners’ Association and won a landmark court case to enforce a restrictive covenant, which led to a rezoning of part of Northern Boulevard.

Nicholas Ferrigno (d. 2010) was a senior instructor for American Airlines at JFK and LaGuardia Airport and a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers. He was a founding member of The Broadway-Flushing Homeowners’ Association.

Sources:

Gil Tauber, "NYC Honorary Street Names," accessed June 15, 2022, http://www.nycstreets.info/

New York Times. (2013, December 2). Paid Notice: Deaths Ferrigno. https://archive.nytimes.com/query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage-9C0CE0DD1E3AF931A35751C1A9659D8B63.html

Mohamed, Carlotta. (2022, June 1). Broadway-Flushing Homeowners’ Association honors late founding members with ‘Ferrigno Place’ street co-naming ceremony. QNS.com. https://qns.com/2022/06/broadway-flushing-ferrigno-way-street-co-naming/

6
Powdermaker Hall

The entrance to Hortense Powdermaker Hall on the campus of Queens College.

7
Michelle Middleton Bond Square

Michelle Middleton-Bond (d. 1997) was an active member of the Southeast Queens community involved in education, law, and politics who passed away at the early age of 35.

Born in Brooklyn, she moved with her family as a young child to Queens. An excellent student, Michelle graduated from Springfield Gardens High School a year ahead of her scheduled class, and went on to St. John’s University, where she pursued a Bachelor degree in Journalism. At St. John’s she was an honors student, worked as an intern for NBC and CBS News, was a founding member of the University chapter of Delta Sigma Theta sorority, and started an internship for print journalism students at the New York Voice Newspaper. Upon graduating Cum Laude from St. John’s, she took a position as a staff producer for Fox 5 News, under television personality Bill McCreary. Her love of knowledge and education led Middleton-Bond back to St. John’s, where she earned a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education. While studying for her degree, Michelle was appointed Educational Director of Middleton’s Day Care center.

Her legal career began when she was awarded a scholarship to the prestigious Howard University School of Law. In the summer of her second year in law school, Michelle accepted a position as a criminal law intern with the United States Attorney’s Office, under former U.S. Attorney Rudolph Giuliani. After graduating from Howard and passing the Bar examinations of four states, Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morganthau appointed Michelle to the position of Assistant District Attorney for New York County. While working in the D.A.’s office, Michelle met and married her friend and husband Lonnie H. Bond. In 1993 Michelle left the District Attorney’s office to launch her own law firm along with her sister Cathy, which became a major firm serving the Southeast Queens community. While there, Michelle opened the doors to her law firm and started an internship program for young high school students who had an interest in pursuing a career in law. She often went to speak with young people at high schools in the metropolitan area on the importance of staying in school, and how they too could have a career in law if they were willing to study hard. Michelle served for many years on the board of United Children Appeal, a non-profit organization helping inner city children with remedial math and reading.

Michelle taught a class two nights a week at York College in legal writing. In addition, she served as an arbitrator in Queens County Civil Court until her health prevented her from doing so. She was also active in politics and served on the committee to elect David Dinkins. A strong believer in education, Michelle did much volunteer work for the United Negro College Fund.

In 1993, Michelle was diagnosed with cancer. Despite painful surgeries, grueling treatments and frequent hospitalizations, she continued to build the law firm and be involved with the community. Michelle also turned her attention to fighting breast cancer. She was a dedicated member of the National Breast Cancer Coalition and lobbied on Capitol Hill for increased government funding for cancer research.

Sources:

Gil Tauber, "NYC Honorary Street Names," accessed June 15, 2022, http://www.nycstreets.info/

Sean Okula, “Family remembers lost daughter, sister,” Queens Chronicle, July 14, 2022, https://www.qchron.com/editions/eastern/family-remembers-lost-daugher-sister/article_cf32fb11-f2f8-5b2b-a945-f8f49adb587a.html

8
P.S. 152 Gwendoline N. Alleyne School

Gwendoline N. Alleyne (ca. 1907-1989) taught at P.S. 152 in Woodside for 50 years and was said to be the first Black woman teacher in the New York City Public Schools.

Sources:

Jet, Vol. 76, No. 7, May 22, 1989.

9
Edith N. Putney Tablet

Edith N. Putney was a teacher at Newtown High School and founded the XYZ club. She died at the age of 39, attempting to save 3 of her students who drowned in a rafting accident. The tablet was placed on the wall of Newtown High in 1923.

Sources:

"Older Woman Sacrifices Her Life in Futile Attempt to Save Her Companions." The New York Times, July 1, 1917. https://www.nytimes.com/1917/07/01/archives/article-1-no-title-older-woman-sacrifices-her-life-in-futile.html