Plaque honors City of Binghamton's first African-American employee

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. - A plaque has been installed in a downtown park to honor the first African-American employee of the City of Binghamton.

The marker was unveiled Friday in Columbus Park on Carroll Street.

It commemorates Major Barnett Sr. who in 1966 was hired by the Parks and Rec Department, becoming the first African-American person to work for the city.

He spent much of his 19 years with the city working on Columbus Park.

On Friday, some of his eight children and many grandchildren came to the park to celebrate his life.

Grandson Brendan Barnett says he wouldn't have cared for all of the attention.

"He was so selfless. He didn't do things for recognition. He just did things because he did it. He was the most gentle, kind soul. So, I know today, he's definitely smiling with a big smile," he said.

After retiring in 1985, Major Barnett Sr. continued to serve the community as a pastor in his church.


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