How will all the candles fit on the cake?

The Lewis H. Latimer House Museum will host a 170th Birthday Party in honor of its namesake on Saturday, Sept. 8, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The fun will include live music, art, poetry, a wine-and-beer tasting, and tours of the Flushing property. The guest list includes Latimer’s great nephew, Hugh B. Price, a senior fellow in economic studies at The Brookings Institution who was president and CEO of the National Urban League from 1994 to 2003.

Plus, three local artists – Sherese Francis, Antonia Perez, and Cecile Chong – have donated their own pieces to a silent auction.

The reasons to celebrate this milestone are countless. Lewis Howard Latimer was an African-American inventor whose innovations in carbon filaments ushered in the age of electric light. Mostly self-taught, he was a master draftsman, an expert on patent law with eight of his own patents, a poet, and a painter. He also drafted the patent drawings for Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone and helped found the New York Unitarian Church.

Though born in Massachusetts in 1848, Latimer bought a wood frame, Queens Anne style residence on Holly Avenue in Flushing in 1903. He lived there until his death in 1928, and the two-story house remained in his family until 1963. It was then relocated to 34-41 137th St. and converted into a museum in 1988. The structure later received city landmark status.

“We celebrate Lewis Latimer’s 170th birthday because Lewis Latimer signified a humane theme in overcoming racial prejudice, defying social injustice, and accomplishing a life and work that benefited the American society,” said Latimer House Executive Director Ran Yan. “His contributions as an African American inventor, humanist, and son of fugitive slaves are truly respectable. He is one of the unsung heroes in history.”

Prices range from $30 for one general admission ticket to $250 for VIP entrances for two. Proceeds will benefit the museum.

Images: Lewis H. Latimer House Museum


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