Bell Atlantic Celebrates Black History Month
Employee Events Champion African American Legacy
February 18, 2000
Michel Daley ,
WASHINGTON - During February, Bell Atlantic and its employees are
celebrating the significant contributions African-Americans have made to
the nation with a variety of activities that chronicle the black experience.
"Bigotry often stems from ignorance or a lack of understanding
about the many cultures around us," said Bell Atlantic Chairman and
CEO Ivan Seidenberg. "We value the diversity and heritage of all of
our employees. Black History Month gives us the opportunity to increases
our understanding of the rich African-American culture and how it has
contributed to our society."
Bell Atlantic is running advertisements in major newspapers and on radio
to reinforce its belief in the strengths of diversity in the work force and in
In addition, an employee group, the Consortium of Information and
Telecommunications Executives (CITESM), is hosting Black History
Month activities at company locations from Massachusetts to Virginia.
CITE is a Bell Atlantic employee resource group committed to community
service, personal development and raising the consciousness of all
Americans regarding diversity issues.
The Association of Telecommunications Managers and Associates of
Maryland, a CITE affiliate, is selling artwork, Martin Luther King, Jr.
posters and mugs, and African-American history puzzles. Proceeds
benefit the organization's scholarship fund.
The Minority Multicultural Association (MMA), another CITE affiliate,
sponsored a Black History Month project-the creation of a timeline that
illustrates African-American accomplishments. Middle-school students
from Boston public schools drew illustrations for the block-long exhibit in
the corridor of Bell Atlantic's 185 Franklin St. building in Boston. At the
end of the month, the drawings will be preserved, bound and presented as
a gift to the students' school libraries.
MMA is also featuring "Puzzle Profiles" in the lobbies of 185
Franklin St. and 125 High St. in Boston. With clues provided each day,
employees and visitors are invited to guess which famous African-
American is being profiled each week. Mystery identities are revealed at
the end of the week.
Bell Atlantic will broadcast the critically acclaimed, six-hour PBS series,
"Wonders of the African World," to employees at its company
locations throughout New England. The series will be shown in one-hour
segments from noon to 1 p.m., and from 1 to 2 p.m. daily throughout the
At the end of the month, MMA will kick-off its Black Libre Library.
MMA will collect donated books and feature those written by black
authors. The organization will rent the books and use the proceeds to fund
its scholarship program.
On Feb. 28, Bell Atlantic and CITE's Council of Action for Minority
Professionals (CAMP) will co-sponsor a Black History Month program in
Vail Hall at 540 Broad St. in Newark at 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. Renowned
author, journalist and television commentator Barbara Reynolds will be
the keynote speaker. Other notable speakers will include Bill Freeman,
president and CEO of Bell Atlantic - New Jersey; Patricia Leach,
president of CAMP, and Maurice Brown, president of Bell Atlantic's
CITE's Granville T. Woods Association is sponsoring several "Days
of Remembrance." The Rev. Suzan Johnson-Cook, senior pastor of
the Bronx Christian Fellowship Church spoke at 1095 Avenue of the
Americas in New York City on Feb. 17. The organization also will host a
day-long celebration, with breakfast, vendors, speakers and entertainment,
from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Feb. 24 at 88-11 165 Street, Jamaica, N.Y.
On Feb. 25, CITE affiliate Telecommunications Excellence for Associates
and Managers (TEAM) is sponsoring "Lest We Forget," a
collection of slavery artifacts and memorabilia in the north lobby of the
Bell Atlantic building at 1717 Arch St. in Philadelphia. The exhibit,
which includes chains, branding irons and other artifacts that symbolize
the harsh treatment of African-Americans, is one of the most extensive
collections on the East Coast. It is thoughtfully done and presented with
little-known black history facts. J. Justin Ragsdale, a private collector
who assembled the artifacts over the past 20 years, loaned the popular
exhibit to TEAM. Due to its demand, TEAM has displayed it during
Black History Month for the past three years.
TEAM is also selling a poster entitled "Black Miracles" to
raise money for its scholarship fund. The popular poster lists hundreds of
black inventors and inventions. The organization is also sponsoring a
photo exhibit with accomplishments and contributions of African
Americans at 416 7th Ave., and at 201 Stanwix St. in Pittsburgh, and at
1600 Tech Center Drive, in Monroeville.
Earlier this month, CITE's Association of Telecommunications
Professionals of Virginia (ATP-VA) hosted a movie night for employee
families featuring a black film classic. The group also brought a
storyteller of African-American fables to Bell Atlantic's offices in
In addition, ATP-VA is sponsoring writing contests for children, ages
eight to 11, and 12 to 14. The younger students are being challenged to
write essays about their favorite person in black history. Participating 12
to 14-year-olds are writing about the topic "Martin Luther King's
Dream-Realized or Not?" ATP-VA will choose winners from
each category and the winners will receive U.S. Savings Bonds.
Bell Atlantic will host the I.S. Greene Chorale, who will perform a
"A Salute to Black Composers" at 7 p.m. on Feb. 27, at the
Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Hampton, Va. The performance is free and
open to the public. The popular choir has been singing in Southeastern
Virginia for over 20 years.
The Association of Telecommunications Managers and Associates from
the Washington Metropolitan Area, another CITE affiliate, sponsored an
evening of African-American poetry Feb. 12 at Howard University's
Blackburn Center. The event featured readings by notable poets from
around the Washington metropolitan area.
Bell Atlantic's Customer Service Center is sponsoring "ethnic dress
days" and open forums to discuss black history. The office is also
hosting a seminar to recognize the accomplishments of the Tuskegee
Airmen on Feb. 23 at 12 noon to 2 p.m. Bell Atlantic is hosting a
photography exhibit by twins and photo historians Ron and Don Baker on
Feb. 25, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at 1710 H Street, N.W., Washington,
D.C. The photos of African-American celebrities will chronicle African-
American achievements over the past 30 years.
On Feb. 14, the Association of Telecommunications Managers and
Associates - West Virginia, a CITE affiliate, held an event celebrating the
contributions of African-American women in West Virginia. Gospel great
Ethel Caffie-Austin, who is a West Virginia native, and Bell Atlantic -
West Virginia President and CEO Dennis Bone spoke during the
ceremony. Bone also presented a $2,000.00 check to the Charleston
Newspapers chain in support of an educational literacy program, co-
sponsored by Bell Atlantic, called "Newspapers for
Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and
information industry. With nearly 44 million telephone access lines and
12 million wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are
premier providers of advanced wireline voice and data services, market
leaders in wireless services and the world's largest publishers of directory
information. Bell Atlantic companies are also among the world's largest
investors in high-growth global communications markets, with operations
and investments in 23 countries.