Chair, CB 12
Dr. Gloria Ruby Mae Black, Ph.D., chairperson of Community Board 12, passed away on Saturday, March 1. She was 76.
The longtime educator and civil rights activist became deeply involved in the movement at an early age, eventually working alongside leading civil rights figures such as Martin Luther King, Jr.
She summarized her philosophy in a single sentence, “Know thyself: for all your days - prepare and give service to your creator and fellow man unselfishly.”
Black dedicated the latter part of her life to representing residents of south Jamaica by serving on Community Board 12 for more than 25 years, the last five as the chairperson.
Concerned about revitalizing downtown Jamaica and about city veterans, she served as a congressional task member for the Saint Albans Veterans Facility at the behest of Congressmember Gregory Meeks. In 2006, the facility underwent a modernization effort to enhance its medical care services.
Black was born in Charleston, South Carolina. Her intellectual interests were wide-ranging; after receiving her bachelor’s degree in history and sociology from Livingstone College, she earned a master’s degree in social work with a psychiatry concentration from Columbia University, a second master’s degree in American History from New York University and a Ph.D. in social psychology, specializing in collective and crowd behavior, at the New School of Social Research.
Throughout her 37-year career as an educator, Black received numerous accolades, including: the Alpha Kappa Alpha Leadership award, she was honored for outstanding service to the Middle States Evaluation Committee for Secondary Schools and Colleges; the York College Alumni and the Mary McCloud Bethune Award; and a Teacher of the Year award in Nassau County. Recently, she had also received a Congressional Award of Honor for Community Service.
She retired her teaching and counseling duties from the New York City public school system and Lawrence High School in 1992.
Black is survived by her two daughters, Antonee and Jehanne, and her two grandsons, Brehon and Brandon.
— Editor’s note: Last week’s obituaries were handled by the Martin A. Gleason Funeral Home.