During the Great Depression in 1934, a group of 22 Antiguans under the leadership of Bishop James P. Roberts saw the need to establish a society for Antiguans in New York. On August 22 of that year, the Antigua Progressive Society was formed and incorporated in New York the following year. The Antigua and Barbuda Progressive Society Inc., is organized exclusively for charitable, religious, educational and scientific purposes, including, for such purposes, the making of distributions to organizations that qualify as exempt organizations described under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or corresponding section of any future federal tax code.
Four years ago, the Society’s bylaws were revised to include Barbuda after the dissolution of the Barbuda Benevolent Society, and the Society was renamed the Antigua & Barbuda Progressive Society (ABPS). In 2011, The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture curated an exhibit, A Lighthouse in New York, encompassing the first 50 years of ABPS’ rich history which ran from September 2013 through March 2014. A Lighthouse in New York placed ABPS in a diasporic context and gave a glimpse into how early 20th century Caribbean immigrants settled in New York.
Headquartered in Harlem, today the ABPS’ mission is to foster friendships among members, and to promote and cultivate social, intellectual, and cultural forums, while providing assistance to Antiguans and Barbudans in New York and in the twin island nation. ABPS hosts workshops with other civic groups, conducts holiday drives and distributes meals to the less fortunate. ABPS is also a member of the Mount Morris Park Community Improvement Association and attends the 28th Precinct’s Community Council and Community Board 10 monthly meetings. For additional information, visit www.ABPSociety.org.