• December 11, 2019

Juneteenth celebration Saturday at OCHS - Ocean City Sentinel: News

Juneteenth celebration Saturday at OCHS

Eight to be honored for their support of Ocean City’s Black community

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Posted: Wednesday, June 12, 2019 11:17 am

OCEAN CITY – The Ocean City Juneteenth Organization will host the third annual Juneteenth Celebration & Brunch 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 15 to commemorate the historical and cultural legacy of Ocean City’s Black community. 

The celebration will include live music from BF Sounds, minority small business vendor tables, clips from a documentary video reflecting on the development of the community, the presentation of a scholarship to a local undergraduate, the presentation of a memorial award to the Coalition Against Rape and Abuse (CARA), and the recognition of the community building contributions of eight elders. Ultimately, this event will honor the rich history and contributions of Ocean City’s Black community and strengthen the ties that bind residents all together as “Ocean City family.”

Doors open at 9:30 a.m. at the Ocean City High School cafeteria, 501 Atlantic Ave., Ocean City. Tickets are $20 at the door. 

Lastly, we will honor eight elders of the community who have made significant contributions in diverse areas, including Ms. Mary Jane Granger, Philanthropic Leadership Award; Ms. Charlene Hemphill, Memorial Award; Mr. Daniel Lee 

Henry, Community Leadership Award; Mrs. Bernice McClellan, Family Values Award; Mr. and Mrs. Tommy and Mary Miles, Business Leadership Award; Mr. Richard Tolson, Community 

Ally Award; and the Reverend John T. Winters, Spiritual Leadership Award. 

For additional information, please see www.ocnjjuneteenth.jimdo.com or email ocjuneteenth@gmail.com.




Ms. Mary Jane Granger


Leadership Award 


Granger is being honored with the Philanthropic Leadership Award for her tireless efforts to improve and give back to the Black community in Ocean City. She was born the day after Christmas in 1945 in Mullins, S.C., one of three children of Robert and Sarah Mae Davis. She moved to Ocean City at the age of 27 and remained there for 31 until her passing. 

She was an active businesswoman in South Jersey, owning a number of prominent and successful businesses. From 1971 to 1979, she owned Granger Cleaning Service, she owned Jane’s Farm Market and was the chief executive officer of Pete’s Place Professional Car Shine from 1980 to 1987. She is perhaps most well-known for Mary Jane’s Daycare, which she owned from 1987 to 1995. For her business acumen, she earned the title of local Businesswoman of the Year numerous times. She also appeared on the television show, “Good Morning America,” a number of times, as well as being featured in local newspapers. She was also active in volunteer work, particularly as a member of the NAACP. She was the mother to nine children and grandmother to many grandchildren, but she raised generations of children from all different backgrounds in the community. She died Dec. 10, 2003. 


Ms. Charlene Taylor Hemphill

Memorial Award 


Ms. Charlene Taylor Hemphill is being honored with a Memorial Award in recognition of the significant impact she made on her community before she was tragically taken in an act of domestic violence. She was born Dec. 10, 1951 in Atlantic City, to the late Elsie Dickerson and John Hemphill. Ms. Hemphill was the mother of five boys — John Henry Jr., Kenneth Henry, Richard Henry, Joshua Baker, and Jesus Baker. She was known in the community as a mother to all. Her home was a refuge for many of the children in the neighborhood who were struggling with personal issues. She had an open door policy, always extending to make sure every child had a plate to eat and somewhere to lay their head. She was a pillar in the spiritual community as well, attending church regularly and always seeking to find love and harmony in the universe. Ms. Hemphill was known to pick up hitchhikers and have a prayer service whenever the opportunity presented itself. 

She was dedicated to see that her children became the best they could be was her life. Her life ended tragically from domestic violence in December 1983. But even with her loss, she brought the community together to help guide her five boys into manhood. 


Mr. Daniel Lee Henry Jr.

Community Leadership Award 


Mr. Daniel Lee Henry, Jr. is being honored with a Community Leadership Award for his efforts to pave the way for generations of Black children in Ocean City. He was born in Somers Point and was a lifelong Ocean City resident, attending Ocean City public schools. He worked as a sales associate for Kabat’s Men’s Shop in Ocean City for 30 years. It was there that he helped develop young men with style and sense of pride, often purchasing the item himself to make sure young men were well dressed for special events. He also worked briefly as a toll collector for the Cape May County Bridge Commission on the Longport Bridge, as well as a janitorial staff person at the Ocean City Intermediate School and High School. 

He was active in St. James A.M.E. Church where he served as an usher, a steward, and was a member of the Board of Trustees. His dignity and grace were always on display as an usher and member of the famous men’s choir. Mr. Henry was also active in his community where he was a member of the Elks Lodge No. 757, Antlered Guard, was past president of the NJ State Elks, and past president of the Exalted Ruler #21. He was a member of the American Legion in Pleasantville, V.F.W. Ferguson Foglio Post #6650, Ocean City Democrat Club, Vietnam Veterans of America, and NJEA. Mr. Henry personified excellence and expected nothing less from family, friends, and especially the youth in the community. He always had a word of encouragement and was the first to offer guidance. He lived his life touching everyone he met. Mr. Henry was a true servant to his community. He died Feb. 15, 2006. 


Mrs. Bernice McClellan

Family Values Award 


Mrs. Bernice McClellan is being honored with the Family Values Award in recognition for her role as a “community mother” who offered support and love to the Black community in Ocean City.

Mrs. McClellan was born on April 20, 1945 to the late Saint and Mamie McFarland in Centenary, S.C. She attended Centenary public schools before moving to Ocean City. In Ocean City, she met and married Johnnie McClellan Sr. She was a loving mother to her four children, Paula, John, Johnny, and James, and a loving grandmother and godmother. 

Mrs. McClellan was employed by the Ocean City Board of Education for 15 years. She was a faithful member of Shiloh Baptist Church where she was well loved. At Shiloh, she served on the Pastor’s Aide ministry, Board of Trustee Ministry, and the Culinary ministry, as she was well-known for her delicious cooking. Mrs. McClellan was also known as a mother figure to many in the Black community in Ocean City. She could always be counted on to lend an ear and a voice of encouragement. She was loved and respected by all as an activist and an individual who spoke out on the behalf of others. Mrs. McClellan died Sept. 16, 2012. 


Mrs. Mary 


Business Leadership Award 


Mrs. Mary Hayward-Miles is being honored with the Business Leadership Award in recognition of her contributions to the economic vitality and charitable service of the Black community in Ocean City.

Mrs. Miles was born and raised in Rhem, S.C. Her parents, Mack and Lessie Hayward, raised Mary and her siblings in a praying home, which led her to begin serving the Lord at a young age. Mrs. Miles was baptized at the age of 14 and was immediately known as a shining star at her home church, Weldon Hill Baptist Church. As a child, she sang on the choir, served as a junior usher, and was a member of the Trustee Board. She graduated from Chavis High School and later earned an associate degree in computer programming from Atlantic Community College. 

Mrs. Miles moved to Ocean City in the spring of 1964 and soon met the love of her life, Tommy Miles Jr. They were married on Dec. 3, 1966. From that union, they have four children, Gregory, Sharon, Patricia, and Laquinta; five grandchildren, Gregory, William, Whitney, Courtney, and Aaliyah; and one great-granddaughter, London. 

Mrs. Miles retired from Spencer’s Gifts, Inc. and began working at Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino. After retiring from the casino industry, she continued volunteering her time at the local food bank and career clothing closet. Mrs. Miles has been a faithful member of Shiloh Baptist Church for more than 52 years. She continues to be an active member of the Trustee Board, Pastor’s Aide, Usher Board, Gospel Choir, Community Choir, and a deaconess, in addition to teaching Sunday School and Bible Study.

Mrs. Miles’ kindness and generosity has been recognized by the City of Ocean City, as well as several churches and organizations, and she is known for her flavorful soul food. She currently resides in Ocean City with her husband. 


Mr. Tommy Miles Jr.

Business Leadership Award 


Mr. Tommy Miles, Jr. is being honored with the Business Leadership Award in recognition of his contributions to the economic vitality and charitable service of the Black community in Ocean City. Mr. Miles was born on March 12, 1940 to Lillie Mae and Tommy Miles. He was raised in Marion, S.C., one of seven siblings. He attended public schools in Marion and worked as a construction worker and gas station attendant in the community, always with an eye toward his vision to be a business owner. 

Mr. Miles relocated to Ocean City in the summer of 1962. Once in Ocean City, he began working at Bob’s Seafood and Peter Granger’s Cleaning Service. In Ocean City, he met and married Mary Hayward-Miles in 1966. They have four children, Gregory, Sharon, Patricia, and Laquinta; five grandchildren, Gregory, William, Whitney, Courtney, and Aaliyah; and one great- granddaughter, London. Mr. Miles is a member of Shiloh Baptist Church and is known for his kindness and generosity to all who know him. He is a quiet and kind-hearted man who does not hesitate to offer a helping hand to others no matter the circumstance. 

He is the owner of Tommy Miles Window Cleaning and Painting. While managing his business, he also worked for the City of Ocean City until his retirement. Mr. Miles was determined to provide the best lifestyle for his family that he could. He currently resides in Ocean City with his wife. 


Mr. Richard Tolson

Community Ally Award 


Mr. Richard Tolson is being honored with the Community Ally Award in recognition of his commitment to working alongside the Black community in Ocean City to provide opportunities 

to our children. Mr. Tolson was born in Ocean City in 1958, the youngest of six children, to the late Charlie and Bunny Tolson. He attended Ocean City Schools throughout his childhood and graduated from Ocean City High School in 1976. After graduation, he started a career in the masonry industry, working with Frank Galante & Son. In 1988, he joined the Bricklayers Union and became Union Organizer in 1990. Mr. Tolson is currently the Director of the Bricklayers Union for the state of New Jersey, a position he has held since 2006. 

In 2012, Mr. Tolson received his bachelor’s degree in labor studies from the national Labor College in Silver Springs, Maryland. He is very committed to community engagement throughout South Jersey. He has served on the New Jersey Economic Development Authority for seven years. He currently serves as the Vice Chairman of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority. His strong ties to the Black community in Ocean City originated in his relationship with the Ocean City Hawks Organization. Mr. Tolson coached Hawks teams from 1984-1992, and again in 2000. His commitment to the youth in Ocean City extended far beyond the middle school football field. For many, he was a father figure, guidance counselor, and community liaison. Mr. Tolson helped so many children in the neighborhood see beyond their circumstance and reach for their full potential. He currently resides in Ocean City with his wife Sonya Bertini. He has two children, Antoinette DiMeglio and Mikel C. Bertini, and two grandchildren, Kiersten and George Workman. 


The Rev. John T. Winters

Spiritual Leadership Award 


The Rev. John T. Winters is being honored with the Spiritual Leadership Award in recognition of his devotion to leading not only his congregation, but the broader Black community, through spiritual guidance and generosity. 

The Rev. Winters was born on April 30, 1937 in Raleigh, N.C. to Nathaniel Johnson and Hildreth Pryor. He relocated to the Northeast in the 1970s. As a lifelong servant of God, he was ordained in 1972 at Jones Memorial Baptist Church. He was installed at Shiloh Baptist Church in Ocean City on May 27, 1990. He remained the spiritual leader of Shiloh until his retirement in 2012, traveling faithfully from Philadelphia to lead the congregation each week during his tenure. But the Rev. Winters also offered spiritual advisement and mentorship to all residents of Ocean City, whether they were members of his church or not. He was known to have dinner at community members’ homes after church and would often fellowship with residents throughout the Black community, no matter their religious affiliation. 

The Rev. Winters is known and loved by all in Ocean City as a supportive and generous leader. He developed the true meaning of a community church during the time that Shiloh was under his leadership. 

He was married to Naomi Winters with whom he had two children, Tonya and Travis, and four grandchildren. He currently resides in Philadelphia with his wife, Geraldine Winters. 

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