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Honoring a Legacy: The Theodora Smiley Lacey Portrait Tour Launch Event

Updated: Mar 19



In a heartfelt celebration of history, art, and activism, the launch event for the Theodora Smiley Lacey Portrait Tour marked a significant moment in time. Hosted and presented by acclaimed artist Philip Smallwood, this inaugural unveiling coincided with the theme of Black History Month 2024: "African Americans and the Arts." With a mission to honor the life and legacy of Mrs. Lacey, an advocate for education, equity, and racial justice, the event captivated attendees with its powerful narrative and profound impact.


The tour, featuring a captivating portrait of Mrs. Lacey by Philip Smallwood, aims to raise awareness and foster support for community partnerships that align with Mrs. Lacey's remarkable legacy. From her experiences of segregation in Montgomery, Alabama, to her pivotal role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the advancement of voter rights alongside icons like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, Mrs. Lacey's journey serves as an inspiration for generations to come.


The event, held at Fairleigh Dickinson University's Wilson Auditorium, Hackensack Metro Campus, welcomed a diverse audience eager to pay homage to Mrs. Lacey's contributions. Journalist and WABC reporter Anthony Johnson guided attendees through an afternoon filled with reflection, dialogue, and celebration.





A highlight of the event was the panel discussion, which explored the intersection of community activism, the role of art in societal narratives, and the historical perspectives that shape our understanding of figures like Mrs. Lacey. Esteemed panelists including Newark Arts Executive Director Lauren LeBeaux, Activist and Professor Rev. Dr. Forrest M. Pritchett, Teaneck International Film Festival Founder Jeremy Lentz, and Co-Director of the Romare Bearden Foundation Johanne Bryant Reid provided invaluable insights into Mrs. Lacey's impact and the enduring power of art in fostering social change.


As attendees gathered in Wilson Auditorium, they were not merely witnesses to history; they became active participants in a movement to honor Mrs. Lacey's legacy and celebrate the enduring impact of art in our communities. Through poignant discussions, heartfelt tributes, and the unveiling of Philip Smallwood's exquisite portrait, the event served as a poignant reminder of the importance of preserving and honoring the stories of those who have shaped our collective history.


Philip Smallwood Art's commitment to ensuring Mrs. Lacey's inspiring story reaches diverse audiences underscores the transformative power of art in promoting exploration, learning, and inspiration. As the Theodora Smiley Lacey Portrait Tour embarks on its journey across the nation, it carries with it the hope of sparking conversations, igniting passions, and fostering positive change in communities far and wide.


To learn more about the Theodora Smiley Lacey Portrait Tour and upcoming events, make sure to sign up for our email updates or follow us on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn. Join us as we continue to honor the legacy of Theodora Smiley Lacey and celebrate the enduring impact of art in our world.


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