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CB 12 chair Gloria Black dies at 76

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Black recently had surgery for an undisclosed ailment and was undergoing rehabilitation when she died, according to CB 12 District Manager Yvonne Reddick. Reddick said she was shocked when she learned about the longtime Jamaica resident's death, since Black was re-elected to her position in January."The last time I talked to her she was upbeat and filled with spirit," Reddick said. "She was a strong woman and certainly a fighter."Reddick said Black's family, which includes two daughters and two grandsons, would not elaborate on the cause of death. Black's daughter, Jahane, could not be reached for comment.Black long served the Jamaica community in various ways, according to Reddick. She earned her doctorate in education and worked as a teacher in Queens high schools for many decades.She also worked with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the civil rights era and pushed hard to bring equal rights to black Americans, according to Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans). After retiring from teaching, Black continued giving back to her community as a deaconess at the Amity Baptist Church in Jamaica. "Dr. Black was a role model, in the truest sense of the word, and she inspired countless generations of southeast Queens' children to spread their wings and reach for the stars," said Comrie said in a statement.Black was a member of CB 12 for years before she was named acting chairwoman in September 2003, replacing former Chairman James Davis, who died that year. A couple of months later, she was formally elected to the position.During her tenure, Black led the board through several major events within the neighborhoods of Jamaica, Hollis, St. Albans, Springfield Gardens, Baisley Park, Rochdale Village and South Jamaica, including numerous rezoning changes and the Sean Bell shooting.First Vice President Adjoa Esinam Gzifa will serve as acting chairwoman of CB 12 for the time being, Reddick said. Gzifa, who like Black was part of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, a national group of college educated black women, said she would deeply miss her leader and friend."She was just a great person. She was my mentor," she said.A viewing service will be held Sunday at the Amity Baptist Church located at 164-18 108th Ave. from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. followed by a wake. Black's funeral was scheduled to be held Monday at 11 a.m. at Amity Baptist.For more information on the services, please call 718-739-9533.Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

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