Black social life in Plainfield

1948-06-04 Choral Club Plans Recital - Plainfield Courier-News detail.jpg

Genevieve Henriksen at the East Fifth Street YWCA. Courier-News, June 4, 1948

Henriksen Kiddies Dance Class fundraiser for the Moorland YMCA. Courier-News, December 27, 1937

Articles in the Plainfield newspaper Courier-News suggest that Veronica’s mother, Genevieve Henriksen, was a member of an African American organization. Genevieve Henriksen was a member of the Community Choral Club of the East Fifth Street YWCA—Plainfield's African American branch of the Young Women’s Christian Association. In 1948, the Courier-News reported that the choral club would present its annual recital at the Plainfield High School and that "compositions by classic and modern composers" as well as "traditional Negro spirituals" would be performed. Genevieve Henriksen also served as the coordinator for the Girl Scout Troop 39 associated with the East Fifth Street YWCA, and the Courier-News documented some of their activities as well. These articles show that the Henriksen family was very much connected to and active in black social circles in Plainfield.

Concerts produced by community groups not only showcased local talent, but also served as fundraisers. Veronica Henriksen and her sisters Desiree and Charmaine performed in various fundraisers for African American organizations since a young age. For example, in December 1937, fourteen-year-old Veronica and her younger sisters led the "Henriksen Kiddies Dancing Class" for black children in Plainfield. They prepared a Christmas dance show to raise funds for building repairs for the Moorland Branch YMCA—the local African American branch of the Young Men's Christian Association. In August 1940, a month before Henriksen began her studies at NJC, she performed a cello solo at another Moorland Branch YMCA fundraiser.

Veronica Herniksen also became a beneficiary of community fundraising efforts in December 1940 when the Trinity Male Chorus of Montclair presented a program "under the auspices of the interracial department of the Plainfield Council for World Friendship." A Courier-News article noted that proceeds from the recital would go "for a scholarship for Miss Veronica Henriksen, a Plainfield girl studying at New Jersey College for Women."

Plainfield Courier-News reporting

These additional sources helped us trace the Henriksen family's links to black organizations in Plainfield:

Black social life in Plainfield