By Alberto Gilman
True Insight Inc., The Black History Committee of the Hudson Valley and City of Newburgh residents will honor longtime city resident and activist Sadie Tallie with a Lifetime Achievement award for her 60 plus years of service on Monday, September 12 at 6 p.m. at the school district auditorium at 124 Grand St.
Tallie, who lives in the Town of Newburgh, was born in the City of Clinton, North Carolina and moved to the Newburgh area in 1950. While here in the Newburgh area, she attended and graduated from Orange County Community College, obtained a masters degree in theology, started a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration, created the RACE program, a Christian based community youth program, and has raised her seven children here. Tallie is also a longtime member of the Mount Carmel Church of Christ congregation and the Black History Committee of the Hudson Valley.
Tallie had also previously served 27 years as the Executive Director for the Coalition for People’s Rights [CPR]. Within the coalition, Tallie was focused on serving and helping the youth through finding employment for them in the city in a variety of industries. The program served children in the area during their teenage years till about the age of 21.
Even to this day, Tallie shared that former students or youth that she has helped and other members and colleagues of the groups that she has been a part of over the years continue to recognize and still thank her for what she has done in Newburgh and beyond. “I thank God that Newburgh gives me an opportunity to definitely express myself. I thank God that he gives me the strength, the energy and the courage and even the wisdom in order to be able to go forth,” Tallie said.
With September 12 coming up soon, family, friends, community leaders and colleagues of Tallie offered remarks of congratulations for her work in the community along with their own reflections of her and look forward to the upcoming celebration.
The middle son of Tallie, retired United States Airman Dwight “Sabu” Williams, said he is humbled by the fact that his mother is still being recognized and honored for the work that she has done in the city. Williams saw his mother always involved in a variety of activities, and even in her later years she still continues to be active however she can. “Her biggest impact, I think, was on young people. She loved young people,” Williams said. “It was just, just amazing to see her work every day.”
In 1991, 31 years ago, Mayor Torrance Harvey moved to the city with his family and as a teenager while attending Baptist Temple Church, Harvey first met Tallie. During those times, as a teenager, Harvey said Tallie was a mentor to him, and he also had the opportunity to work and serve with Tallie’s coalition work.
“Ms. Sadie Tallie was very, very much invested in the young people in our community,” Harvey said. “She always prided herself on providing opportunities, learning opportunities and cultural opportunities for young people.”
Now 31 years later, Harvey still helps in the work of Tallie and has since gone on to pursue a career in education in the school district and in public service as an elected official. “I definitely attribute a lot of how and why I became a school teacher to her,” Harvey said “Educator, spiritual leader, organizer, community organizer. Ms. Sadie Tallie has and continues to be a humble servant. One of the great pillars, you know, pillars in the City of Newburgh.”
Councilman Anthony Grice also shared several words on Tallie’s impact and work in the community as the day of celebration draws closer. “She’s [Sadie Tallie] been a pillar in the City of Newburgh for a very long time,” Grice said. “We as a city council, we definitely believe in giving people their flowers while they’re alive. And so this is an opportunity to give her her flowers while she’s alive. Everybody on city council and city government, we have a great deal of respect for her and for what she’s done in the community.”
Shawna Newkirk-Reynolds first met Tallie at the age of 16 when she joined as a member of Black History Committee and has known Tallie now for over 25 years. Newkirk-Reynolds remembered as a child and even into her teenage years being a student in Tallie’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration class that she had started in the community. Years later, Newkirk-Reynolds would assist in those classes and the celebration whenever she had the opportunity to do so.
Newkirk-Reynolds also highlighted Tallie’s dedication to the importance of the youth’s understanding of their own history and praised her dedication to the Newburgh community. “I just love her passion for community service and her love for her community and her love for her people. And her love for young people. She is one of the people that inspired me to be an educator,” Newkirk-Reynolds said. “I just know from the many things that she has done over the years that she has a love for the Newburgh Community. She’s very deserving of this honor. She truly exemplifies community service. I think that this is an awesome opportunity for her to see that her impact has made not only just a positive presence, but it’s a legacy.”
Pastor Terry Dorsey of the New Life The Living Church on Broadway and past president of the Black History Committee of the Hudson Valley has known Tallie for the past 48 years and shared that he is very grateful for her as a mentor and spiritual figure in his life. “She’s a great example for all of us in the City of Newburgh and she’s a trailblazer. I would say she’s a trailblazer that has set the example for preachers like me in the City of Newburgh on being a true woman of God. Someone that love Jesus and love people,” Dorsey said.
True Insight Inc. founder Deacon Donald Fryar first met Tallie when she served as his Sunday school teacher many years ago. Now many years later, Fryar has formed his organization and has partnered with the Black History Committee. For Fryar, he is grateful to be able to honor Tallie in this way with the community with the award while she is still here.
“She always give it to you straight, no chaser. And you have to learn to appreciate that, you know, because she’s a woman of character, of great character. And she just stands for what’s right,” Fryar said. “I’d like to say, it is always an honor and a pleasure to be in the presence of my Mother, Sister Tallie. I thank her for dedicating her life to the cause of freedom.”