BROOKLYN, NEW YORK- Solomon Goodrich, former executive director and president of Southern Queens Park Association, died Friday December 9th in Brooklyn at the age of 85, and was memorialized on Monday December 19th 2016, in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey beside his wife and daughter.
Born in Sherwood Content Trelawney, Jamaica, Goodrich started his career as a teacher and then moved to Jamaica Agriculture Society (JAS) as a 4H organizer travelling island wide. While always being proud of his African heritage and culture, he started his passion in community organizing and development in the early 50s. During those days, he helped develop recreational and social services in rural communities, which provided employment for the less privileged.
Solomon, known by his friends as “Sol,” was an avid cricket fan and a devoted Garveyite, who stood on the principles Marcus Garvey, always attempting to inspire his people with Garvey saying, “Up you mighty race, accomplish what you will.”
In the late-60s, Sol brought his passion to New York where he settled in Brooklyn. As an activist and community organizer, he was always fighting against racial inequality for black people.
Goodrich, who was always strong willed, determined and confident in his abilities, was selected to head the conversion of a 54 acres portion of land from the old Naval hospital in St. Albans, Queens into a family-friendly community park. With his warm personality, he brought life to Southern Queens Park/ Roy Wilkins Park (an oasis) a cultural center for sports and athletics, now the premier recreational center in South-East Queens.
Goodrich’s vision of the park was designed with all age groups in mind, particularly to provide children opportunities to enjoy life away from the mean streets. So as to include elders in activities of the park, a community garden was established along with The Black Spectrum Theatre. Now the major venue for outdoor concerts in the area, it continues to provide opportunities to unite Caribbean and African Americans from across the tri-state area and beyond, with large Reggae, Soca, R&B music concerts and Foods Festivals for the last 30 years.
Solomon made a difference in helping so many, from the local community, including Jamaicans, Guyanese, Trinidadians and Barbadians and the larger diaspora. We have lost a champion for the people. Sol will be missed by the many he has touched.
Among friends and family celebrating Solomon’s life are his three sisters.
L-R Salome Waters, Naomi Allsopp Marion A. Goodrich.