Village and college officials in New Paltz are showing support for what’s now being called the Dr. Margaret Wade-Lewis Black History Research and Cultural Center. While it’s just an idea now, that’s the vision that Esi Lewis has for the Ann Oliver house at 5 Broadhead Avenue. The decrepit house was passed from the Stewart’s corporation to the Village instead of being demolished, once its historical significance was discovered, and then to Lewis for the express purpose of turning it into a center of local African-American heritage. It’s being named for Lewis’ mother, who was a strong advocate for minority rights.
At their March 23 meeting, Village trustees supported applying for a grant that will allow Lewis to be paid a salary of anywhere from $25,000 to $100,000 while bringing this project into being. Mayor Tim Rogers also announced that Lewis has been provided office space on campus from which to do this work, which the Mayor feels is a strong endorsement from university officials. Securing local landmark status for the property is also in process.