BINGHAMTON, NY – A local family is organizing a community picnic in honor of their father.
Major Barnett Senior, originally from the south, was a participant in the “Great Migration” and arrived in Binghamton in 1960.
He later became the first African American hired by the City of Binghamton as a laborer for the Parks and Recreation Department.
Barnett Senior later was put in charge of Columbus Park before retiring in 1986.
His son, Major Barnett says former mayor of Binghamton, Matt Ryan gave his father a key to the city in 2013.
“I remember him saying, we were in church and he was saying, ‘What can I do with this, what do I do with this’ and it was kind of funny to me like what do I do with this. I think at that point he had moved past wanting or needing rewards like most people do,” says Barnett.
His family has been holding a memorial picnic annually, but this is their second time they’re opening it up to the public.
The event will take place at Columbus Park tomorrow from 11 to 5.
Food and beverages will be provided, along with games and music.