Marshall Says Seniors Are Inspirations In Address
Borough President Helen Marshall paid tribute to Clarence L. Irving, 89, and Julius C.C. Edelstein, 90 during last Wednesday’s State of the Borough address, singling them out as inspirations to others.
Irving is a military service veteran who worked for Con Edison as an electrical planner after the war. In the late 1940s, he formed an amateur baseball team called the Bisons, which were so good they became a dynasty in the Brooklyn Kiwanis Baseball League.
The team’s crowning moment came when they played a championship game at Abner Doubleday Field in Cooperstown, New York, the home of the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. It’s incidental that they won; the real importance of the game is that it was the first time a team organized and managed by an African American played on that field, Marshall recounted.
In 1968, Marshall said, then Mayor John V. Lindsay asked Irving to coordinate activities for young people living in city housing projects.
In 1984, he founded the Black Heritage Foundation to document, preserve and disseminate information about the accomplishments of African Americans. His musical archives at York College are a repository of original scores, costumes, photographs and documents related to the many musicians from the area, Marshall said. "As Queens grows, I’m sure the material he collected will be highly valued in cultural displays and presentations," she added.
Julius C.C. Edelstein’s life and career reflect his involvement in national, international and New York City affairs. A native of Wisconsin, he started his career as a news reporter for United Press International (UPI), one of two major news services, the other being the Associated Press (AP).
On Dec. 7, 1941, the day Pearl Harbor was attacked and the United States entered World War II, Edelstein was the only reporter on duty at the UPI foreign desk. He became responsible for its initial coverage of the attack and subsequently served in the Navy during the war.
After the war he was a public affairs advisor to the U.S. High Commissioner to the Philippine government, and in 1947 was instrumental, Marshall said, in convincing the Philippine government to vote in the United Nations in favor of partition to create the State of Israel."
He also served on the staffs of United States Senator Herbert Lehman and Mayor Robert Wagner. In the second post, he did extensive work on housing and anti-poverty matters. He gravitated into matters involving the creation of the City University of New York. "Through his efforts," Marshall said, "the SEEK program at City University was established."
SEEK, which stands for Search for Education, Elevation and Knowledge, Marshall said, "led the way to open admissions, making CUNY accessible to many more minority, working class and poorer students than ever before."
Edelstein became coordinator of Urban Studies at CUNY and later Vice Chancellor for Urban Affairs, and oversaw the SEEK program early in its existence. In all, Edelstein served CUNY for about 20 years in various high-level positions. When he retired in 1984, he continued to serve it as Senior Vice Chancellor emeritus.
FEDERAL RETIREES’ MEETING: The Astoria/Long Island City Chapter 1871 of NARFE The National Association of Retired Federal Employees, meets Thursday, February 13 at 1 p.m. at the Catholic War Veterans Hall, 45-06 30th Ave., Astoria.
Chapter President Harry Beider of LIC is seeking more members to build up the organization and make its voice stronger. For more information, call (718) 932-0661.
MEETINGS: A timely topic, "The Bush Tax Law—Its Effect on Seniors," will be addressed by Maureen Ditata and Lawrence Bervoitz at the February 5 meeting of AARP Chapter No. 2889 at 12:30 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church of Newtown, 54-05 Seabury St., Elmhurst.
The first meeting in 2003 of AARP Chapter No. 1762 in Richmond Hill will be held on Thursday, February 13, at 1 p.m. at the Church of the Resurrection, 85-09 118th St., Kew Gardens.