MCHR Diversity Spotlight - Black History Month
Originally established as Black History Week in February 1926 by historian Carter G. Woodson, this tribute was expanded into Black History Month in 1976 as part of our nation’s bicentennial. Every President since Gerald Ford has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month, including our current leader and the first African American to hold the office, President Barack Obama.
This year’s theme is Civil Rights in America, marking the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and chronicling the important milestones reached by African Americans and others in the battle for civil rights and equal treatment under the law. As President Obama said in his 2013 official proclamation, “National African American History Month is a time to tell those stories of freedom won and honor the individuals who wrote them. We look back to the men and women who helped raise the pillars of democracy, even when the halls they built were not theirs to occupy. We trace generations of African Americans, free and slave, who risked everything to realize their God-given rights. We listen to the echoes of speeches and struggle that made our Nation stronger, and we hear again the thousands who sat in, stood up, and called out for equal treatment under the law. And we see yesterday's visionaries in tomorrow's leaders, reminding us that while we have yet to reach the mountaintop, we cannot stop climbing.”
To celebrate Black History Month in Missouri, participate in an event near you:
- Springfield: Enjoy living history, food samples, and dress reminiscent of the Civic Club gatherings of the 1920s’ Harlem Renaissance at the African American History Month Kick Off Feb. 1 at 1 p.m., at the Springfield-Greene County Library Midtown Carnegie Branch, 397 East Central Street. Experience the literary art movement of the era with a discussion of new artists, intellectuals, and books you wish you would have read sooner. For more information, call 417-883-5341.
- Springfield: The African American Read-In will be held in Duane G. Room 101 in Meyer Library on the Missouri State University (MSU) campus, 901 South National Avenue, on Feb. 3 from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. “Episode 2: Fighting Back, 1957-1962” of the film series “Eyes on the Prize” will be shown, accompanied by a discussion facilitated by Dr. Gilbert Brown, Associate Dean of the MSU College of Education. For more information, contact Stephanie Goss at Goss343@live.missouristate.edu or 417-836-5652.
- Kansas City: Join Carr Mel Brown, as portrayed by area vocalist and storyteller Brother John, as he brings the Golden Age of Swing Jazz and artists like Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne, Cab Calloway, and Louis Armstrong to life for preschool-aged children in A Musical Tribute to The Swing Jazz Legends at the Kansas City Public Library:
- Waldo Branch, 201 East 75th Street, Feb. 4 at 9:30 a.m.
- Central Library, 14 West 10th Street, Feb. 4 at Noon.
- Westport Branch, 118 Westport Road, Feb. 11 at 10 a.m.
- Plaza Branch, 4801 Main Street, Feb. 14 at 6:30 p.m.
- Lucile H. Bluford Branch, 3050 Prospect, Feb. 19 at 6 p.m.
- Kansas City: Magician Tommy Terrific celebrates the great trumpeter, singer, and jazz pioneer Louis Armstrong and performs magic tricks inspired by his most popular songs, including “Hello, Dolly!” and “When the Saints Come Marching In” at various branches of the Kansas City Public Library:
- Westport Branch, 118 Westport Road, Feb. 5 at 10 a.m.
- Sugar Creek Branch, 102 West Sterling, Feb. 5 at 2 p.m.
- Lucile H. Bluford Branch, 3050 Prospect, Feb. 6 at 4:30 p.m.
- Plaza Branch, 4801 Main Street, Feb. 7 at 6:30 p.m.
- Kansas City: The Kansas City Art Institute holds a weekly brown bag lecture series during Black History Month in the Vanderslice Hall reception room, 4415 Warwick Boulevard from Noon to 1 p.m. The series features various individuals:
- Feb. 7: Dr. Dorthea Williams, Executive Director of the Black Archives of Mid-America and author of “Kansas Grows the Best Wheat and the Best Race Women: Black Women’s Club Movement in Kansas 1900-1930”
- Feb. 14: David Jackson, Certified Financial Planner and Financial Advisor for Waddell & Reed with a presentation entitled “Turbulence, Perspective & Opportunity: An Investor’s Guide”
- Feb. 22: Geri Sanders, Instructor of African American history at Metropolitan Community College-Penn Valley with a presentation entitled “Sarah Rector: Kansas City’s First Black Millionaire”
- Springfield: Civil rights leader and Congressman John Lewis will interact with a panel of youth book reviewers via Skype and will discuss his latest book, March, a graphic novel memoir about his life, co-authored with Nate Powell and Andrew Aydin, on Feb. 10 from 10 a.m. to Noon at the Springfield-Greene County Library's Midtown Carnegie Branch, 397 East Central Street. For more information, contact Stephanie Goss at Goss343@live.missouristate.edu or 417-836-5652.
- Kansas City: On Feb. 12 at 6:30 p.m. at the Kansas City Public Library’s Central Library, listen as lawyer-turned-author David O. Stewart commemorates Lincoln’s Birthday with a discussion of his new work of historical fiction, The Lincoln Deception. Superbly researched and brilliantly plotted, this thoroughly gripping mystery explores one of the nation’s darkest and most fascinating eras and the conspiracy that changed world history. For more information, call 816-701-3400.
- Kansas City: An Evening with Frederic Douglass will be presented on Feb. 19 at 6:30 p.m. by veteran actor Charles Everett Pace in a one-man show portraying the prominent abolitionist and social reformer. This event will be held at the Central Library of the Kansas City Public Library, 14 West 10th Street. Pace is one of the nation’s leading solo historical performers. His body of work explores how African American leaders have helped to advance democracy and overcome the obstacles of race in American society. Call 816-701-3400 for more information.
- Springfield: Watch a skit performed by youth with a dramatic reading of excerpts from “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on Feb. 24 from 7 to 9 p.m. in Duane G. Room 101 in Meyer Library on the Missouri State University campus, 901 South National Avenue. Contact Stephanie Goss at Goss343@live.missouristate.edu or 417-836-5652 for more information.
- Kansas City: The Local Investment Commission (LINC), along with its partners, the Black Archives of Mid-America and the Kansas City Public Library, is again producing and sharing its annual Black History educational poster set and booklets. For Black History Month 2014, the set focuses on African American musicians, writers, and visual artists from Kansas City and the surrounding region who contributed significantly to the cultural life of the United States during the 20th century. Copies of the booklets will be available at the Kansas City Public Library, the Black Archives of Mid-America, and some branches of the Mid-Continent Public Library. The Black Archives of Mid-America is also creating a teacher's guide and other educational materials which will be available by contacting them at 816-221-1600. LINC also is willing to send, at no cost, copies of the materials to the public. You may place your order online or call 816-889-5050.
- St. Joseph: Visit The Black Archives Museum, 3406 Frederick Avenue. The museum features exhibits on such topics as the Underground Railroad, the Middle Passage, desegregation, education, sports, and other aspects of African-American history in St. Joseph. The Black Archives features a Hall of Fame, created to showcase the achievements and contributions of St. Joseph’s African-American citizens. The museum also includes an exhibit on St. Joseph’s best known musician, the “Father of the Tenor Sax,” Coleman Randolph Hawkins. Visiting hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. The museum is closed on major holidays. For more information, call 816-232-8471.
- Kansas City: Peruse the historical artifacts and exhibits at The Black Archives of Mid-America, 1722 East 17th Terrace. The Archives is a center for learning and research into the African American experience in Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Oklahoma, and the Midwest at large. Popular collections include those on education, children, religion, and civil rights, with a featured collection on 18th & Vine. Hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Monday and Friday by appointment. Call 816-221-1600 for more information.
- Columbia: On Feb. 6 at 7 p.m., view “Movie of Color” at the Armory Sports Center, 701 East Ash, and discuss this portrait of independent African-American filmmakers. Call 573-874-7460 for more information.
- Jefferson City: Watch “42: The Jackie Robinson Story” as part of the First Friday Films series at the Missouri River Regional Library, 214 Adams Street, in the MRRL Art Gallery on Feb. 7 from 7 to 9 p.m. For more information, 573-634-2464.
- Fulton: An Evening with Harriet Tubman will be held on Feb.6 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Callaway County Public Library, 710 Court Street, in the Friends Room. Enjoy an evening of history discovering more about Harriet Tubman, founder and organizer of the Underground Railroad. Ms. Toni Fountain, historian and educator, will share the persona of Harriet Tubman and bring her back to life with this presentation. For more information, call 573-642-7261.
- Columbia: View the exhibit “50 Years of Civil Rights: The Movement in Expressive Images”, featuring artwork of Mealida Favorite and Adrienne Walker Hoard on Feb. 6 from 5 to 7 p.m., at Bingham Gallery in the Fine Arts Building on the campus of the University of Missouri, Hitt Street & University Avenue. There will also be a reception and discussion. For more information, contact Hannah Reeves at email@example.com.
- Kirksville: Fred D. Gray, civil rights attorney, will present a free public lecture entitled “Bus Ride to Justice” followed by a question and answer session at 7 p.m. on Feb. 8 in Baldwin Auditorium on the Truman State University Campus, 100 East Normal. Gray came to prominence working with Martin Luther King Jr., E.D. Nixon, and Rosa Parks during the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955. For more information, e-mail Barry Poyner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Fulton: Hear about the fascinating story of Carter Braxton in A Lawsuit and an Obituary: Following the Braxton Family on Feb. 10 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., in the Friends Room at the Callaway County Public Library, 710 Court Street. Emancipated in 1839 in Ralls County, his son was killed in an explosion on the ship Tioga in 1893, resulting in a lawsuit that spanned over two decades. Family history research consultant Traci Wilson-Kleekamp will provide some of her research about this family's connections in Callaway County using the latest tools and resources for conducting genealogical research into African-American families. Call 573-642-7261 for more information.
- Columbia: Hear about Early Pioneers of Columbia’s Black Community, all former slaves of University president William Hudson. Family history research consultant Traci Wilson-Kleekamp will share how she has traced their stories through newspapers, estate files, wills, and civil war pension files. This event will be held on Feb. 11 from 7 to 8:15 p.m. at the Columbia Public Library, 100 West Broadway. For more information, call 573-443-3161 or 800-324-4806.
- St. Louis: The Hands on Black History Museum and Christ Church Cathedral present a collection of rarely seen photographs curated by Debbie Nelson Linck documenting the lives of African Americans from the Emancipation Proclamation to the present in "As If We Weren't There." The opening reception will be held on Feb. 1 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Christ Church Cathedral, 1210 Locust Street. The show runs through Feb. 28. For more information, call 314-231-3454.
- Cape Girardeau: Artist Kristen Powers Nowlin has dealt with issues of race and gender in her artwork for nearly eighteen years. In her current body of woodblock prints, she uses images and symbols for the ways that either popular culture or scientific/academic cultures have used to specify the race of an individual. View her work and hear the artist’s point of view during the Artist’s Talk at Kent Library, Sadie’s Place, on the campus of Southeast Missouri State University, One University Plaza, at Noon on Feb. 1. For more information, contact Vicki Gruzynski at 573-651-2748 or email@example.com.
- St. Louis: Beginning Feb. 3, view the Dred Scott Exhibit at St. Louis Community College, Florissant Valley Campus, 3400 Pershall Road. The exhibit tells the story of St. Louis enslaved blacks and their quests for freedom and contains images of documents, photographs and objects from the collection of the Missouri Historical Society tracing the pursuit of freedom in 19th century St. Louis. The exhibit is on the second floor of the Instructional Resources building and runs daily through Feb. 28 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, call 314-513-4200.
- Cotteville: Enjoy A History of the Negro Leagues in St Louis: Giants & Stars presented by Dwayne Isgrig at St. Charles Community College, 4601 Mid Rivers Mall Drive, on Feb. 3 at Noon. The St. Louis Giants were a Negro Leagues baseball team from 1905 to 1921, changing owners and its name for the 1922 season. From 1922 to 1931, the St. Louis Stars continued in the Negro National League. This is the story of the team and the men who played the game when "only the ball was white." For more information, contact Grace Moser at Gmoser@stchas.edu or 636-922-8522.
- St. Louis: Screen one or all of the films in the Created Equal Film Series examining the changing meanings of freedom and equality throughout U.S. history at St. Louis Public Library's Central Library, 1301 Olive Street. Offered by the National Endowment for the Humanities as part of its “Bridging Cultures” initiative, the series seeks to provoke discussion about history, resistance, and social change. In addition, there will be community conversations around the films, led by local humanities scholars. The following schedule provides dates and times of both the films and the discussions:
- “The Abolitionists” on Feb. 3 at 5:30 p.m. with discussion on Feb. 4 at 6:30 p.m.
- “Slavery By Another Name” on Feb. 10 at 5:30 p.m. with discussion on Feb. 11 at 6:30 p.m.
- “The Loving Story” on Feb. 21 at 3:30 p.m. with discussion on Feb. 21 at 6:30 p.m.
- “Freedom Riders” on Feb. 24 at 5:30 p.m. with discussion on Feb. 25 at 6:30 p.m.
- St. Louis: Enjoy The Harlem Renaissance: The Birth of a New Consciousness and the Origins of the Civil Rights Movement on Feb. 8 from 9 to 10 p.m. at St. Louis Public Library's Divoll Branch, 4234 North Grand Boulevard. Dr. Scott Holzer will speak about the political goals and artistic creations of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. Starting with W.E.B. DuBois’ goal of promoting the “Talented Tenth” to achieve integration, the presentation examines the paintings, music, writings, and dance of the important artists that explored and created a new consciousness for African Americans. For more information, call 314-534-0313.
- St. Louis: Listen as Tom Pearson discusses book, manuscript, microfilm, and Internet sources of information on the struggles and triumphs of African American Civil War soldiers in “Heroes of the USCT (United States Colored Troops)” on Feb. 8 from 10:30 a.m. to Noon at St. Louis Public Library's Central Library, 1301 Olive Street. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 314-539-0385 to register or for more information.
- St. Louis: Enjoy the Lift Every Voice: Black History Month Celebration, featuring Broadway star Jennifer Holliday, on Feb. 14 at 7:30 p.m. in the St. Louis Symphony’s Powell Hall, 718 North Grand Blvd. This annual concert celebrates African-American cultures and traditions that have influenced the history of St. Louis, as well as cities around the world. Join conductor Kevin McBeth and the St. Louis Symphony IN UNISON® chorus to commemorate influential leaders who helped shape history. Purchase tickets online or call 314-534-1700.
- Cotteville: The Arrive Dance Company presents “Celebrating African-American History Through Dance” on Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. on the campus of St. Charles Community College, 4601 Mid Rivers Mall Drive. Arrive, under the direction of Stacey Gerst and Jamell Jacobs, is a St. Louis-based group that has a unique blend of Jazz, Modern, Contemporary, and Hip Hop styles. For more information, contact Laura Austin at LAustin@stchas.edu or 636-922-8245.
- St. Louis: Listen to former NAACP president and CEO Benjamin Jealous share his lecture, “We Got What We Fought For, But We Lost What We Had,” in An Evening with Benjamin Jealous on Feb. 17 at 7:30 p.m. at the Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts, 130 Edgar Road. Jealous recently stepped down from his post at the end of 2013, after 10 years. The youngest president in its history, he began his career at age 18 opening mail at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. For more information, (800) 981-9801 or (314) 968-4925.
- St. Louis: Florissant Valley's Major Black Writers class will make presentations about Harlem Renaissance authors on Feb. 27 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at St. Louis Community College, 3400 Pershall Road. From James Baldwin and Zora Neale Hurston to Langston Hughes and Richard Wright, the Harlem Renaissance was undeniably one of American literature’s most influential movements. The event will take place in the Student Center's Multipurpose Room. Call 314-513-4132 for more information.