To the Editor:
I was an elementary school student at P.S. 197 in Harlem back in the late 1950s and early 1960s and had the privilege of having Batya Lewton as the school librarian (Westy Awards, Oct. 8). Ms. Lewton turned me on to the love of books. After I left elementary school, this woman would meet me on Saturday mornings and take me to the New York Public Library on 42nd Street and teach me how to use the library and do research. Today, I am a minister in Weston, Conn., with a doctoral degree. An African American, I pastor a congregation that is 94 percent Caucasian. You can’t imagine how often I refer to Ms. Lewton. I recall going to Ms. Lewton to find out what blacks were doing during the Civil War. I learned from her what was happening during the Civil Rights struggle in the South that we were living through at the time.
I sent this article to my eight siblings, teachers, principals and four ministers. As a Christian family, we learned more about our faith from this Jewish woman who taught us so much about the divine possibilities for our lives. We are who the Daily New once called the “9 Bright Lights from Harlem.” And much of who we are we attribute to the wonderful love and support we received from Batya Lewton.
Rev. Dr. Bernard R. Wilson
Senior Minister, Norfield Congregational Church
Letters have been edited for clarity, style and brevity.
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