by Gloria Dulan-Wilson
New Yorkers in general, and Black New Yorkers in particular are a unique breed. Our concept of family extends far beyond the basic definition of the nuclear unit with mother, father and siblings. In fact, there are times when we are closer to people outside the traditional family circle than we are to our own family members.
Such was the case with Brother James Ferguson -- who was just “Ferguson” to us. He was a very real presence in our community and in our lives. He was a promoter extraordinaire. (see funeral NOTE below)*
Now for those who are reading this from outside our family circle, to us a promoter is someone who is involve in practically every event that comes up in the Black community. From concerts and plays, to trips, dances, events -- Ferguson always had the literature, hand out cards, all the particulars about the event, and he would go through the community from venue to venue, passing out the info and encouraging people to go.
He sported a full length black ranch mink coat, that clashed with his very casual mode of dress. He was generally congenial in his quiet way of speaking, letting you know he was there and where he stood on issues affecting us as a Black family.
The “sudden” passing leaves a gaping hole in our social quilt. It’s really been difficult for us to really deal with Ferguson’s being there one moment, and then receiving the news that he was gone.
I know, there’s a spiritual explanation that we all have come accustomed to using over the past years that he is with us spiritually -- and somewhere we know that is true. But to our human sensibilities, brother Ferguson looked as though he would be with us for at least another 30 years. He looked like he would be the one we would reminisce with about that fabulous party or event he turned us on to. Or that when no one else knew what was happening, Ferguson would still be keeping us in the loop.
Perhaps community activist, Zach Husser’s comments can give more texture as to why we feel so “bereft” at the passing of this stalwart brother:
“Dear Family of Friends, What? I can't believe this. I just spoke with Ferguson last week about doing a collaborative event with his crew doing the on the ground promoting for some of my adventures. He gave me his business card with the website and email address, but told me to call him by phone. Even though he had all of the internet dressings, Ferguson was still old school in dealing with business. He wanted you to call him on the phone or meet him at the House of Prayer for All People on 124th street and Frederick Douglas Blvd. You see, at the church, he could have a meal, talk business, and be close to home. In the warm months, he would come up by bike. Yes, Ferguson rode that bike all over Harlem. I'm definitely going to miss my long time good friend! This is hard to take because I didn't know of any health condition that Ferguson had. We talked some BS to each other at the last Oldies, but Goodies party at Roseland. He was fast talking as usual and told me to give him a call. I never made that call and now I hear about his passing. I'm sorry we didn't get a chance to talk one more time before his transition. Finally, I want to let all of you who might not of known Ferguson on a personal level, that the man would do anything to help out his friends. Ferguson, as most of us called him, let many of his family of friends live in his home when the friends had bad fortune strike them. He opened up his wallet and gave friends money knowing he wouldn't get the cash back. He fussed about loaning money, letting friends live in his house, but he never turned anyone away. We'll miss Ferguson because he truly had an open heart and was a great friend to have in your corner. Peace and Love and May My Long Time Friend Rest In The Knowledge That Many Of Us Loved Him, Brother Zachary C. Husser, Sr.”
So for those of us who want the opportunity of giving him a formal final farewell, his services are being held Monday,February 8, 2010.
*NOTE NEW NEWS: "As with most to the things Brother Ferguson did, the transition location has been moved again. Now, the going home service is going to be at the Marian McDaniels Funeral Chapel on West 136th Street between Lenox and 7th Avenue. The celebration starts at 4:00 PM for the viewing and the funeral begins at 7:00 PM. After the funeral, a "party" for Ferguson is going to take place at the Alhambra Ballroom on 126th Street and 7th avenue. So, please pass the correct address around to your family of friends." Just received this update from Bro. Zach Husser.
We will be there to pay respect and homage to a member of our family, share stories, and try to hold on to the feeling of his being among us for just a little while longer.
My condolences to Ferguson’s mother and the rest of his nuclear family from myself and the rest of his extended family.
Stay blessed &