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PHOTOS: MTA Celebrates Black History Month

Updated February 22, 2024 3:30 p.m.
MTA Employees Attend Black History Month Event

Hundreds of Employees Gather at MTA Headquarters 

View Photos of Event 


The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today celebrated Black History Month with a gathering of more than 200 MTA employees at the MTA’s headquarters in Lower Manhattan. Attendees learned about the achievements of African Americans in the transportation industry and heard from some of today’s prominent transit leaders including MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber, MTA Chief Customer Officer Shanifah Rieara, Metro-North President Catherine Rinaldi and the event’s keynote speaker, Jerome Horne, Communications Manager at the Maryland Transit Administration. Today’s event was hosted by an MTA employee resource organization, Black Employees Group for Inclusion & Networking (B.E.G.I.N.). Rieara and Rinaldi serve as executive sponsors for B.E.G.I.N. 

“It’s amazing to be here with MTA employees and MTA leadership to celebrate and embrace African American culture, I’m profoundly moved to be a part of this team and do my part to highlight and uplift all African Americans across the region,” said MTA Chief Customer Officer Shanifah Rieara. “And this year, for the first time, we are highlighting Black History Month with special messages posted on digital screens throughout the transit system.” 

“This was a wonderful event to highlight and celebrate the contributions that Black people have made in the Transit industry both throughout history and are continuing to make today,” said Keynote Speaker and Maryland Transit Administration Communications Manager Jerome Horne. “It’s an honor to be in community with other team members from across transit agencies to celebrate Black History Month and chronicle the march towards progress.” 

“I’m thrilled to be a part of this event as an executive sponsor of B.E.G.I.N.,” said Metro-North Railroad President Catherine Rinaldi. “I’m inspired by the stories of the African American pioneers in public transportation.” 

With resources from the New York Transit Museum, event attendees also learned about historical African American figures who broke ground and shaped the transit system from the very beginning. This includes information on the many African Americans and Caribbean immigrants who helped build the subway system in the early 1900’s; Olympic Gold Medalist Edward Lansing Gordon and Charles E. Smith who broke barriers as two of the first Black bus operators in New York City in the 1930s; Jonathon T. Coleman and Theodore H. MacAllister who were the first subway conductor and motorman-conductor in 1935 and 1936; and Marion McAllister, one of the first female signal tower operators in New York City’s transit system.