Woods Hole Juneteenth Celebration Focuses On Civil Rights

Civil rights in education and the opportunity to participate in science are among the topics to be discussed at the 2014 Woods Hole Juneteenth celebration, sponsored by the Woods Hole Black History Month Committee and the Woods Hole Diversity Initiative, to be held in Marine Biological Laboratory’s Speck Auditorium in the Rowe Building, 10 MBL Street, Woods Hole, at noon on June 19. Longtime MBL employee and Falmouth resident Lionel Hall will receive the 2014 John K. Bullard Diversity Award.

The celebration includes a keynote presentation by Waldo Johnson of The University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration, and a panel discussion on civil rights as the nation marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education in 2014. The event is open to the public.

The John K. Bullard Diversity Award, given every other year to an individual in the Woods Hole community who plays a significant role in making the community more inclusive and more welcoming of people of all backgrounds, is named in honor of John Bullard, former president of the Sea Education Association. He was presented the first award in 2012 for his leadership, vision, and commitment to diversity in the Woods Hole science community and for his role in forming the Woods Hole Diversity Initiative and serving on the Woods Hole Diversity Advisory Committee. 

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Mr. Hall, purchasing supervisor at the MBL, was recognized as the 2014 recipient for his efforts at the MBL, in the village of Woods Hole, and in Falmouth over the past 30 years to make Woods Hole a welcoming and inclusive community. He began working in the Woods Hole science community in 1985, initially in the warehouse at the US Geological Survey. In 1986 he moved to the MBL as a shipping and receiving clerk. He was promoted to purchasing supervisor in 1998, and in 2004 assumed responsibility for the MBL chemical stockroom.

Mr. Hall joined the Woods Hole Black History Month organizing committee in the 1990s and has been chairman of that committee since 1999. Since 1979, the committee has brought more than 100 individuals from a variety of fields to the village as speakers on an array of topics, and also organizes social events, including the annual harambee or ethnic feast.

Ambrose Jearld, director of academic programs at NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center, is a longtime colleague of Lionel Hall. “He is local, a graduate of Falmouth High School, but has lived in Colorado and the United Kingdom while a member of the US Air Force, and briefly in California before returning home,” said Mr. Jearld, who also chairs the Woods Hole Diversity Advisory Committee. “He is a quiet force, often behind the scenes, but always there to help. He steps to the plate without being asked. Equality for all people is his ethos, and he approaches inclusion as both a personal and professional belief.”

Outside of Woods Hole, Mr. Hall has worked to support and mentor Cape Cod youth. He is an active member of the Concerned Black Men of Cape Cod, a national mentoring organization, and has participated in “Bright Futures,” an education and social program for Falmouth youth offered in collaboration with the Falmouth school system. He has also participated in projects to clean up rental properties, build a handicap accessible playground at Teaticket Elementary School, clean up the local skateboard park, and encourage children of color to participate in summer programs offered by the town of Falmouth’s recreation department.

Mr. Hall has also been active with the town of Falmouth’s Affirmative Action Committee and the No Place for Hate committee, and is a life member in the local American Veterans (AMVETS) Post 70 in Falmouth. He also serves as a master of ceremonies and disk jockey for 2-Way Entertainment, a local minority-owned wedding and event entertainment company.

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