Rev. Dr. Butts III, Faith Ringgold, And Earl Monroe Among Harlemites Honored By The New York Landmarks Conservancy

October 14, 2022

On November 2, 2022, The New York Landmarks Conservancy will host its 29th Living Landmarks Celebration at The Plaza. 

In addition to Rev. Dr. Calvin Butts III, Faith Ringgold, and Earl Monroe, this year’s honorees include Andreas C. Dracopoulos, Marlene Hess, Charlotte Moore and Ciarán O’Reilly, and Oscar Tang.  

The following previous honorees will also participate Stephen S. Lash as host, and Frank Bennack, Marina Kellen French, Gilbert C. Maurer, Patricia D. Klingenstein and Cynthia, and Thomas Sculco as Honorary Co-Chairs for the evening.

“Our amazing group of honorees reflects the talent and diversity of New York,” said Peg Breen, President of The New York Landmarks Conservancy. “Each has made significant contributions that have added to everyone’s enjoyment of the City.”    

Ticket Information: Tickets for the gala start at $1,500; tables start at $10,000.  Please visit for more information.

Faith Ringgold

Faith Ringgold, born in 1930 in Harlem, New York, is a painter, mixed media sculptor, performance artist, writer, teacher, and lecturer. She received her B.S. and M.A. degrees in visual art from the City College of New York in 1955 and 1959. Professor Emeritus of Art at the University of California in San Diego, Ringgold has received 23 Honorary Doctorates.

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During the early 1960’s Ringgold traveled in Europe. She created her first political paintings, The American People Series from 1963 to 1967 and had her first and second one-person exhibitions at the Spectrum Gallery in New York. In the early 1970’s Ringgold began making tankas (inspired by a Tibetan art form of paintings framed in richly brocaded fabrics), soft sculptures, and masks. She later utilized this medium in her masked performances of the 1970s and 80s. Although Faith Ringgold’s art was initially inspired by African art in the 1960s, it was not until the late 1970’s that she traveled to Nigeria and Ghana to see the rich tradition of masks that have continued to be her greatest influence.

She made her first quilt, Echoes of Harlem, in 1980, in collaboration with her mother, Madame Willi Posey. The quilts were an extension of her tankas from the 1970s. However, these paintings were not only bordered with fabric but quilted, creating for her a unique way of painting using the quilt medium. Ringgold’s first story quilt Who’s Afraid of Aunt Jemima? was written in 1983 as a way of publishing her unedited words. The addition of text to her quilts has developed into a unique medium and style all her own.

Crown Publishers published Faith Ringgold’s first book, the award-winning Tar Beach in 1991. It has won over 20 awards including the Caldecott Honor and the Coretta Scott King award for the best-illustrated children’s book of 1991. An animated version with Natalie Cole as the voice-over was created by HBO in 2010. The book is based on the story quilt of the same title from The Woman on a Bridge Series, 1988. The originally painted story quilt, Tar Beach, is in the permanent collection of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City.

Her second children’s book Aunt Harriet’s Underground Railroad in the Sky was published in 1992. In 1993 she published Dinner at Aunt Connie’s, and Ringgold’s third book based on The Dinner Quilt, in 1986. Her autobiography and first book for an adult audience We Flew Over the Bridge: The Memoirs of Faith Ringgold was released in 1995 as well as the children’s book My Dream of Martin Luther King. To date, she has illustrated 17 children’s books. Faith’s most recent books are Harlem Renaissance Party and We Came to America.

Rev. Dr. Calvin Butts, III

Rev. Dr. Calvin Butts, III has served as Pastor of the internationally acclaimed Abyssinian Baptist Church for more than 30 years, and as president of the SUNY College at Old Westbury for 20 years, retiring in 2020.  He now serves as President Emeritus. Rev. Butts also helped found and is the Chairman of the Abyssinian Development Corporation, a community-based NGO responsible for more than $1 billion in housing and commercial development in Harlem.  He played a key role in the establishment of the Thurgood Marshall Academy for Learning and Social Change – a public, state-of-the-art middle and upper school in Harlem.  In addition, Rev. Butts is the visionary behind the Thurgood Marshall Academy Lower School. During his tenure at Old Westbury, he reinvigorated one of the most diverse public college campuses in the country to its largest enrollment ever, adding full-time faculty and expanding student support services.

Rev. Butts serves on the leadership board of New Visions for Public Schools, is Chairman Emeritus of the Board of the National Black Leadership Commission on Health and was a founding member of its Board of Commissioners.  Previously, Rev. Butts served as President of Africare NYC and a trustee of the Board of the September 11th Fund.  His lifelong dedication to education and faith has been recognized with honorary degrees from Addis Ababa University, the City University of New York/The City College of New York, and many others.  His numerous honors and accolades include the United Negro College Fund’s Shirley Chisholm Community Service Award, Medal for Distinguished Services from Teachers College, Columbia University, and Morehouse College Alumni Association.

Earl Monroe

Earl Monroe is a Hall of Fame basketball player who was voted one of the 50, and most recent, 75 greatest players in NBA history. He was the 1968 Rookie of the year, 4-Time NBA All-star, and a member of the 1973 New York Knickerbocker Championship team. After a successful career in basketball, he spent more than 30 years in the entertainment industry, from producing off-broadway musicals to running his own record and publishing company. He has also won the coveted Peabody Award for producing the critically acclaimed documentary “Black Magic”, which helped launched the ESPN series, “30 for 30”. He was also a producer on the ESPN 10-part series, “Basketball, A Love Story”.

As a collegiate basketball player, Earl led his Winston-Salem State University Rams to the NCAA College Division championship, while leading the nation with a 41.7 ppg average. WSSU became the first HBCU to win an NCAA national title. He was voted College Division Player of the Year and Sporting News’ first-team All-American. He was the only college division player to achieve such an honor. As the number two pick of the 1967 NBA draft, by the Baltimore Bullets, he is the highest small college player ever chosen in the NBA. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Education, from Winston-Salem State University.

Earl has been a frequent motivational guest lecturer and has written two books, his autobiography, “Earl The Pearl, His Story” and his most recent endeavor, a self-help book called, “Getting Back In The Game.” He has three honorary Doctorates. One from Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY, and one from. Medgar Evers College, in Brooklyn and the other from his alma mater, Winston-Salem State University, in North Carolina. Earl has run his own union painting and flooring company, the Earl Monroe Group of NJ. He’s also been a TV and radio commentator for the NY Knicks and NBC. Earl has been a spokesperson for such companies as Emblem Health, American Heart Association, Bohringer-Ingelheim and more recently, Merck, where he led an award-winning campaign called, Diabetes Restaurant Month, among others. He is still involved with his Reverse Spin Entertainment Group, which is an entertainment, sports, and consulting firm. Currently, he is involved with The Earl Monroe New Renaissance Basketball School, which is the first specialized public high school with an academic curriculum entirely designed around basketball. “We hope to ensure that our students’ futures are filled with possibility—whether they play the game or not”. Earl resides in Harlem with his wife, daughter, and grandson.

The New York Landmarks Conservancy

The New York Landmarks Conservancy honors distinguished New Yorkers from all professions as “Living Landmarks” for their contributions to the City.  The Conservancy, a private non-profit organization, has led the effort to preserve and protect New York City’s architectural legacy for nearly 50 years.  Since its founding, the Conservancy has loaned and granted more than $54 million, which has leveraged more than $1 billion in nearly 2,000 restoration projects throughout New York, revitalizing communities, providing economic stimulus, and supporting local jobs.  The Conservancy has also offered countless hours of pro bono technical advice to building owners, both nonprofit organizations and individuals.  The Conservancy’s work has saved more than a thousand buildings across the City and State, protecting New York’s distinctive architectural heritage for residents and visitors alike today, and for future generations. 

For more information, please visit

Photo credit: 1) Faith Ringgold. 2) Rev. Dr. Calvin Butts, III. 3) Earl Monroe

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