WEST CHESTER (October 14) – As part of Coatesville’s Centennial Celebration, state Senator Andy Dinniman has memorialized eight individuals who made important and lasting contributions to the Coatesville community in a series of bookmarks that will be distributed to local schools and community youth organizations.

Dinniman and members of the honorees’ families will officially unveil the full-color bookmarks at a special ceremony and reception on Friday, October 16 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Olivet United Methodist Church located at 301 East Chestnut Street in Coatesville.

bkmarkThe event is free and open to the public.

“As we mark Coatesville’s 100th birthday and look forward to its continued revitalization, it’s crucial that we recognize the heart of this city’s strength and resilience – its people,” Dinniman said. “My office and I have worked to research some of the many individuals who have helped shape this city for the better over its history, and we have commemorated their stories in complimentary bookmarks to encourage and inspire young people to do the same.”

The Coatesville Centennial Edition Bookmarks honor leaders and pioneers in the fields of art, social service, politics, business, education, and labor whose work has had a positive impact on Coatesville.

In the past, Senator Dinniman and his office have produced and distributed free bookmarks honoring Rebecca Lukens and Coatesville artist Ida Jones. An exhibition of Jones’ work will be presented this week at the Art Partners Studio is Coatesville. Dinniman said that he is committed to printing at least one new bookmark each year honoring leaders who have help build the Coatesville community.

The individuals being honored on the five bookmarks are as follows:

  • T.J. and Anita Anderson, educational leaders who led the highly successful James Adams School, which served as a model for educational opportunity and community integration during the period of segregation.
  • Bill and Joanne Chertok, civic leaders and activists in Coatesville where they ran a business and raised a family during 52 years of marriage.
  • Reginald and Alice Henry, pioneers in working to advance the training of and opportunities for the blind in Chester County.
  • Lee Carter, a self-taught artist who painted images of slavery, the Underground Railroad and the struggle for freedom.
  • Benjamin Pilotti, who fought for workers’ rights as president of the largest union of Lukens Steel Company in Coatesville.

Dinniman, who serves as Minority Chair of the Senate Education Committee and is a historian and educator by trade, said that friends and family members of the honorees would also be invited to say a few words and share some memories of their loved ones at Friday’s ceremony.

In addition, the event’s keynote speaker will be Jeanita W. Richardson, Ph.D., granddaughter of T.J. and Anita Anderson. Richardson, a professor at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, is the author of “The Full-Service Community School Movement: Lessons from the James Adams Community School,” a book which focuses on the methods and successes of the former Adams school in Coatesville and their applicability to today’s challenging educational environment.

Dinniman said he looks forward to the opportunity to recognize Coatesville’s rich history and discuss how its lessons and successes can affect and inspire the city’s future.

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