From the Daily News:
Queens native Vivian Warfield has wrestled with a thorny query since becoming the director of the Latimer House Museum a year ago: How can she develop support in a predominantly Asian community for a home dedicated to the memory of an African-American inventor?
"How do you remain relevant?" asked Warfield, who is black.
The Historic House Trust, which took over the home in August, has provided assistance in various ways, including helping to get funding from General Electric for an exhibit on Latimer's life. Warfield has done her part, too, taking Mandarin lessons to widen her contacts in the Chinese community.
But, above all, Warfield has tried to use Latimer's legacy to make a difference in the lives of local African-American and Latino youths, who can often feel lost amid Flushing's booming Asian population.
"These African-American and Hispanic kids drop by the wayside here," she said. "They are like endangered species."
Latimer's old lab and study, which Warfield one day hopes to restore, provides the children with a safe place to spend time between the end of school and the beginning of youth activities at the Latimer Gardens Community Center.
The kids said they appreciate an environment that is free of the stresses of the street.
"It provides a sense of safety for me," said Marquise Greer, 16, who also lives in Latimer Gardens Houses. "This place is actually fun."