Published in the Coast Star on February 9, 2017

Lecture, exhibit held in honor of Black History Month

By Caitlyn Bahrenburg

WALL TOWNSHIP — In honor of Black History Month, Monmouth University specialist professor Melissa Ziobro will present a talk on Fort Monmouth and Camp Evans followed by the formal opening of the new Dr. Walter McAfee African American History room.

The discussion and exhibit opening will be held on Sunday, Feb. 19, at 2 p.m. at the InfoAge Science History Learning Center and Museum, located at 2201 Marconi Road.

Ms. Ziobro will open the event with a discussion of the contributions of African Americans at Fort Monmouth and Camp Evans.

Ms. Ziobro serves on the Executive Board of Oral History in the Mid-Atlantic region and as editor for “New Jersey Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal,” a joint venture of the New Jersey Historical Commission, Rutgers University Libraries and Monmouth University.

Ms. Ziobro worked as a command historian at the United States Army Communications-Electronics Command at Fort Monmouth from 2004 to 2011.

The talk and the inaugural exhibit of the new African American History room both celebrate the groundbreaking achievements of African Americans — military and civilian, men and women — who answered the call to serve their country in the laboratories at Fort Monmouth and Camp Evans during World War II and Korean War eras.

These pioneers include Dr. McAfee, who made the mathematical calculations that enabled a team of scientists to bounce the first radio signals off the moon’s surface from the Camp Evans site, known then as the Army’s Evans Signal Laboratory.

The work, dubbed Project Diana, helped usher in the era of space exploration and the development of satellite communications and missile guidance systems.

“Camp Evans used to be known as the ‘black brain trust,’” said Fred Carl of InfoAge.

“Innovation is so important in our society and we want to make sure everyone is encouraged to add to that innovation no matter their social standing or their heritage,” he said.

“The history of Camp Evans shows that motivated people can achieve no matter what.”

The event will include a screening of the documentary “No Short Climb: Race Workers and America’s Defense Technology” by Robert Johnson Jr., a professor at Framingham State University in Massachusetts.

“In ‘No Short Climb,’ Robert Johnson Jr. presents the previously unknown story of the contributions made black scientists and technicians during WWII, many of whom worked at Camp Evans and Fort Monmouth,” said Mike Ruane of InfoAge.

INFOAGE

InfoAge is located at the former United Stated Army Camp Evans subpost of Fort Monmouth.

Camp Evans is a United States Department of Interior National Historic Landmark and is New Jersey’s designated

WWII Living Memorial.

InfoAge is a 501[c][3] non-profit educational organization of volunteers that was designated a Save America’s Treasures site by the Clinton Administration and a Preserve America Stewards site by the Bush Administration.

InfoAge’s mission is to preserve, honor and educate about scientific innovation and history in order to inspire new generations of thinkers, dreamers and visionaries.

posted February 9, 2017