Civil rights

Nyack Village Square rededicated to honor civil rights activist WWII veteran Hezekiah Easter


The village square of Nyack was rededicated Thursday to honor a one-of-a-kind veterinarian.

The community turned out en masse for the square’s name change in honor of civil rights activist, WWII veterinarian and Nyack native Hezekiah Easter Jr.

Hezekiah Easter was a hero both on and off the battlefield. His sons say he was a man who dedicated his life to making the world a better place.

“He taught me a lot, I’m really lucky to have a family like that: taking care of people, helping others to do their best and sacrificing myself to help others. If that’s a bit of sacrifice, do your best, ”said her son, Gregory Easter.

He grew up in the Nyack school system, where he is fluent in German. This made him indispensable to his unit when he was deployed to Germany during World War II.

He studied musical composition at Julliard, where he developed a love for jazz. But he wasn’t just a soldier and musician, he was a political pioneer, becoming Rockland County’s first black elected official and first black police commissioner, as well as deputy mayor and administrator.

A strong supporter of African-American history, he is single-handedly responsible for the preservation of Mount Moor Cemetery, which houses the graves of hundreds of blacks who have not been allowed to be buried elsewhere. Its designation as a historic monument is also due to Easter, which became the last person to be buried there upon his death in 2007.