Thursday, January 8, 2015
County Executive Dennis Levinson will present the 2015 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Award to Henrietta Shelton, founder and president of Chicken Bone Beach Historical Foundation, Inc. at the county's 28th annual commemorative birthday celebration of Dr. King's life and legacy.
The ceremony will be held on Friday, January 16 at 11 AM at the county office building, 1333 Atlantic Avenue, Atlantic City.
"It is our honor to recognize outstanding members of our community with this award in memory of Dr. King," stated County Executive Dennis Levinson. "Ms. Shelton is a fine example of someone who is dedicated to serving the greater good. We are proud of her accomplishments and the wonderful contributions she has made to our community."
Shelton, a lifelong Atlantic City resident, founded the Chicken Bone Beach Historical Foundation to "create pride in our Black heritage and promote family values and unity in Atlantic County."
The nonprofit organization promotes black history, paying homage to the historical segregation of African-Americans on Atlantic City beaches. The stretch of beach between Missouri Avenue and Ohio Avenue was a socially-restricted black beach from 1900 to the early 1950s. It came to be known as Chicken Bone Beach as a result of the number of visitors who arrived for a day at the beach with picnic baskets packed with chicken dinners.
The Chicken Bone Beach Historical Foundation (CBBHF) has embraced jazz as an instrument of inclusion for all races. It conducts annual summer jazz camps where youth can continue their training for free under the guidance of master teachers. For more than 15 years, the CBBHF has also presented a series of free summer jazz concerts on the Atlantic City Boardwalk and previously instituted a winter jazz concert series and created the Chicken Bone Beach Youth Ensemble to help mentor music students from our region.
Moving forward, the organization intends to expand its efforts by supporting battered women and the homeless, and to provide family programs in addition to its yearly scholarships for jazz camp seniors, according to Shelton.
Shelton has been employed at the Federal Aviation Administration's William J. Hughes Technical Center for the past 40 years where she serves as a technical editor. She has received numerous awards and letters of commendation. She is also a past honoree of the Atlantic County Chapter of the American Conference on Diversity and a Spirit of Hospitality recipient.
The keynote address will be presented by Rev. Dr. Odinga L. Maddox, II, pastor of Price Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church in Atlantic City. Rev. Maddox also serves his community as the Youth Opportunity Coordinator for the Atlantic Cape May One Stop Career Center and as chaplain for the Atlantic City Police Department.