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A remarkable Long Island couple, both in their 80s, got the surprise and honor of a lifetime for keeping history alive. Nassau County's African-American Museum, which they helped create, is now renamed in their honor; CBS2's Jennifer McLogan reports.
MAURICE DUBOIS: A remarkable Long Island couple both in their 80s got the surprise and honor of a lifetime for keeping history alive.
KRISTINE JOHNSON: Nassau County's African-American Museum, which they helped create, is now renamed in their honor. CBS 2's Jennifer McLogan reports from Hempstead Village.
JENNIFER MCLOGAN: Joysetta Pearse came from a Broadway show business family. Julius Pearse descended from slaves to become Freeport's first Black police officer. Between them, boundless energy, insatiable curiosity, and intellect.
JOYSETTA PEARSE: Really, oh, did I ever have anything this big in my life? No, not ever.
Nothing like this ever, ever, ever.
JENNIFER MCLOGAN: The longtime directors of the only African-American museum in the region left speechless as the County renamed the museum for the trailblazing icons.
- Together, Julius and Joysetta, you have been an unstoppable force for good. And we learned from you, and it is our honor to honor you.
JULIUS PEARSE: Well, I'm thinking about what brought us this far, what brought us here. The contribution that African-Americans have made to this country.
JOYSETTA PEARSE: In school, whether they learned, they learned about slavery and they learned about the Civil War. That's the only time they see a Black face in history.
JENNIFER MCLOGAN: It was their vision that started small and grew so tall. In order to attract more national works, the Pearses on their own volunteered to remove carpeting, repaint walls, install tiles. Brought school groups from all over to Hempstead to see such exhibits as legendary songwriter Eubie Blake's piano, the first female millionaires of any race, the Black royals, Queen Charlotte and Philippa, American slavery shackles, slaves carved wood panels.
JULIUS PEARSE: My great great grandfather was a pine tree tapper.
JOYSETTA PEARSE: I've just found that history was it for me and sharing the history.
BARBARA POWELL: Julius and Joysetta Pearse paved the way for generations to be inspired.
JENNIFER MCLOGAN: Their legacy lives on through their museum, where so many walk out floating on air. From Hempstead Village, Long Island, Jennifer McLogan, CBS 2 News.
KRISTINE JOHNSON: And their work isn't done. The Pearses say that they will continue to work to preserve African-American history and culture.
MAURICE DUBOIS: And they are a treasure.
KRISTINE JOHNSON: They're a perfect pair, aren't they?
MAURICE DUBOIS: It's pretty good.