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Kimberly Latortue


Meet Kimberly Latortue, the President of Friends of the Howe House, an organization that came together to save and preserve the first home owned by a former slave in Montclair, New Jersey.  It was for sale on Zillow! Join us as she shares with us the history and significance of the James Howe House. From the origins of the to the challenges faced in preserving its historical value.

Kimberly shares her personal experiences and insights. With her background as a realtor and her passion for community involvement, Kimberly delves into the importance of preserving black history and the role of homeownership in building strong communities. Listeners will be inspired by Kimberly’s dedication and the friendships that have formed through the Friends of the Howe House organization.


00:01:22 Preserving African-American history in Montclair.
00:10:53 Importance of community involvement.
00:24:19 Promoting homeownership.
00:31:10 Finding purpose in unexpected places.
00:34:46 Building friendships through shared goals.

“The friends of the Howe house? Who are these friends?
I’d say one big factor was the UUCM church in Montclair. That’s Ravanya, Maria Dionne Ford is part of that. Frank Godlowski, Mina Toller, Sarah Vasquez, Jeff Rockhill. “

Friends of Howe House
Black Home Ownership Matters
Kimberly at Weichert Realtors

When Kimberly isn’t saving historical homes, selling them, and leading the high school PTA, she loves to pop into one of her and our favorite restaurants

And a bit about Rachel and Kimberly’s high school connection in Dix Hills, Long Island 



Preserving History: The Friends of the Howe House

We will delve into the fascinating story with Kimberely Latortue, President of the Friends of the Howe House, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the historic James Howe House in Montclair, New Jersey. This house holds significant historical value as the first home in Montclair owned by an African American. Join us as we explore the mission of the Friends of the Howe House, their journey to save this important piece of African American history, and their plans for the future.

The History of the Howe House:

James Howe, a formerly enslaved man, was freed in 1817 and became the owner of the Howe House. The house represents the importance of homeownership for African Americans and their role in the growth of towns like Montclair. Over time, the house faced challenges, including attempts to demolish it and a fire, but it has been preserved and passed down through generations.

The Formation of Friends of the Howe House:

The Friends of the Howe House came together when there were talks of the house being sold. Community members and local historians recognized the historical significance of the house and the need to preserve it. The organization was formed to save, restore, and return the house to the community.

The Importance of the Howe House:

The Howe House symbolizes the safety and possibility of homeownership for the black community in Montclair. It serves as a monument to black history and the development of black communities in the United States. The house’s story is intertwined with the history of Montclair and sheds light on the struggles and triumphs in the area.

The Current State of the House:

The Howe House is currently occupied by tenants who have been respectful and supportive of the preservation efforts. After their lease ends in 2024, the house will be transformed into a historical learning center. Plans are underway to restore and showcase the original features of the house while also incorporating educational elements.

Connecting with the Community:

The Friends of the Howe House are actively reaching out to individuals with ties to Montclair’s black history for oral history interviews.
Collaboration with organizations like the Montclair History Center helps facilitate the preservation and sharing of black history in the area.

Conclusion: The Friends of the Howe House are on a mission to preserve and honor the history of the James Howe House, a significant landmark in Montclair’s history. Through their dedication and community support, they are ensuring that future generations can learn from and appreciate the legacy of James Howe and the importance of homeownership for African Americans. To learn more about their work and how you can get involved, visit their website and follow them on social media.

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