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Mon, 06.14.1897

Alfred Gomes pioneered law and activism

Alfred Gomes

*Alfred J. Gomes was born on this date in 1897. He was an African American Attorney, and activist.

From the Cape Verdean Islands, he came to New Bedford, MA at the age of seven and was educated in the New Bedford Public Schools. He worked and financed his own college education and graduated from Boston University Law School in 1923. This accomplishment made him one of the first Cape Verdean-born Americans to receive a doctor of jurisprudence degree. Returning to New Bedford after graduation, he became one of the city's most important civic and community leaders. He was especially concerned with promoting the aspirations and betterment of the Cape Verdean people in this country and in his homeland.

Some of his most noteworthy activities and contributions include: serving as a member of the New Bedford Institute of Technology Board of Trustees, now known as the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth; founding the Nantucket Lightship Memorial Scholarship Fund/The Seaman's Memorial Scholarship Fund which assisted many Cape Verdean-Americans to achieve their academic dreams; helping to establish the Verdean Veterans Achievements Awards; serving as a member of the Fall River Diocesan School committee, where he received the Marian Award for his works in charity; serving on the New Bedford Boys' Club Board of Directors for more than 40 years; and organizing the first Cape Verdean Boy Scout troop at the Cape Verdean Benefit Association. Gomes was an extremely successful fundraiser and philanthropist.

In 1942, he organized a Cape Verdean Relief Fund and succeeded in raising four thousand dollars for food and clothing for the needy, and in 1956 he helped to organize the Our Lady of Assumption Fund Drive. He also organized and promoted Cape Verdean models, instrumentalists, dancers and vocalists, presenting them in exhibits and festivals. He was a prolific historian and researcher of Cape Verdean history and culture. His life was one of dedication and service to his fellow citizens, with particular concern for the youth of New Bedford. Attorney Alfred J. Gomes died on November 7, 1974. Reference:

The African American Desk Reference
Schomburg Center for research in Black Culture
Copyright 1999 The Stonesong Press Inc. and
The New York Public Library, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Pub.
ISBN 0-471-23924-0

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