Dr. Lamuel Stanislaus is remembered as a giant here and in the Caribbean
Longtime Public Servant Was An Architect Of The West Indian Day Carnival Parade
Respected dentist. Honored diplomat. Founding father.
All of the above labels are being used aptly to describe the life and times of Dr. Lamuel Stanislaus, one of the foremost leaders in Brooklyn’s Caribbean community, who passed away this past weekend at age 95.
Stanislaus was born on the Caribbean island of Grenada and came to the United States in 1945 to get a Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Dental Surgery degrees at Howard University in Washington, D.C.
He practiced briefly in upstate Wayne County, N.Y., before moving to Brooklyn in 1956 and setting up a practice — first in Bedford-Stuyvesant, later in Downtown Brooklyn — that exists to this day on Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights and is run by his son, Dr. Eugene Stanislaus.
His enduring dental practice alone might have been enough to secure his legacy in the borough, but as it turned out, his contributions to Brooklyn, and Grenada, were just beginning.
Stanislaus moved from dentistry to diplomacy when he was appointed Grenada’s Ambassador at Large to the United Nations, where he was described as “a seasoned, eloquent voice on behalf of his country.”
He was so valued as a diplomat that he served for a year as vice president of the UN General Assembly and, for one month in the absence of the president, served as president of that body.
There were more honors: the Insignia of Commander of the British Empire from the Queens of England; Knight Commander, the highest honor awarded by his native Grenada; a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Brooklyn District Attorney, and a Distinguished Service Award from the Brooklyn Historical Society, among many others.
Stanislaus was said to believe that awards and accolades were not really needed if a person has done right by their family and their country, and his family — Beryl, his wife of 63 years; children Lamuel, Galen, Karen, Eugene and John; and his seven grandchildren — was very important to him.
But locally, Stanislaus has long been credited with having helped father something else — the West Indian Day Carnival Parade, the colorful annual Labor Day celebration of Caribbean culture that draws millions of revelers and spectators as it winds along Eastern Parkway through central Brooklyn.
Initially, Caribbean New Yorkers hungry to replicate the annual Lenten-time Carnivals of their native islands would hold indoor festivals in Harlem’s Renaissance Ballroom.
Two men with Trinidadian roots, Carlos Lezama and Rufus Gorin, formed the West Indian American Carnival Association, moved the event to Brooklyn — and outdoors — and enlisted their politically-connected friend, Lamuel Stanislaus, to help them.
It was the dentist-turned-Brooklyn power broker who began inviting local politicians to march in the parade. Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman in Congress, served as parade grand marshal in 1969, the first year the fete was held on Eastern Parkway. Years later, Stanislaus marveled at how the parade had become “the place to be” for many top electeds.
Tributes to Stanislaus have poured in since word of his passing became public.
Dr. Joseph Radix, Stanislaus’ nephew and a prominent dentist in his own right, said his uncle “was devoted to community service in New York, Grenada and the rest of the Caribbean.”
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said that “For decades, Dr. Lamuel Stanislaus was a respected figure in Brooklyn’s Caribbean community. His advocacy on behalf of the Caribbean-American community was immeasurable, and his presence will be sorely missed in our borough by all Brooklynites who care about community development and public service.”
And Grenada’s Prime Minister, Keith Mitchell, said Stanislaus’ “outstanding service to Grenada and the global community has solidified his legacy, ensuring that he will go down in the annals of history as a distinguished and acclaimed Grenadian and Caribbean national.
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