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Library Events for African-American/Black History Month 2020!

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Known as both African-American History Month and Black History Month, February is a time set aside each year to recognize and appreciate the many invaluable contributions of African-Americans to American society and culture. Just as important, it is also a time to pay tribute to “the generations of African Americans who struggled with adversity to achieve full citizenship in American society” To celebrate such an auspicious month, the library has scheduled several events, lectures, and concerts about the African-American story.

The Color Line on the Baseball Diamond – Monday, 2/3 at 7pm.

(Lecture/Info Session)

Have you considered the entire history of our nation’s favorite pastime? What black baseball in America meant, including pioneers like Jackie Robinson and the rich relationships in ‘Blackball” during America’s era of segregation, across the nation and in New Jersey is a multifaceted narrative. During this session, a robust conversation, an account by a veteran Negro Leaguer, a rendition of an ‘iconic” baseball poem ‘KC at the Bat” by its author, Kevin Kane, and selections from the documentary ‘Before You Can Say Jackie Robinson” will further participants’ understanding.

Dr. Lawrence Hogan is professor emeritus of history at Union County College. He is the author of ‘A Black National News Service: Claude Barnett and the Associated Negro Press” as well as ‘The Forgotten History of African American Baseball.” He served as Executive Producer and historian for the documentary ‘Before You Can Say Jackie Robinson: Black Baseball in New Jersey and America in the Era of the Color Line.” He is the editor and co-author of ‘Shades of Glory: The Negro Leagues and the Story of African American Baseball” published by National Geographic and the National Baseball Hall of Fame.  

This program is made possible through a grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities’ Public Scholars Project. Click here for more information.

Please click here to register.

Your African-American Roots – Wednesday, 2/5 at 7pm.

(Genealogy Workshop)

Local genealogist Gene Armstead, Jr., will review the nature of Genealogy research specifically for individuals of African-American descent. He will address key elements of Genealogy study and propose ways to begin an investigation into your family’s roots. Additionally, there will be tips for navigating road blocks and finding frustrating puzzle pieces. A question and answer period that can move from general to specific will conclude the presentation.   

Please click here to register.

Throwback Thursday Movie: Glory – Thursday, 2/6 at 6:30pm.

(Free Movie Screening)

This drama is based on the true stories of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, one of the Union Army’s all-black volunteer regiments who fought in the American Civil War. The film was nominated for five Academy Awards and won in three categories. It stars Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, and Morgan Freeman.

Rated R. 2 hours 2 minutes. All library movie screenings are shown with subtitles. No registration required!

Revisit or experience for the first time a favorite classic film at our Throwback Thursday movie series on first Thursday of every month!

Concert: Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble – Sunday, 2/9 at 1:30pm.

(Live Performance)

Join us for a performance by the Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble, one of the largest professional African dance a drum ensembles in the United States. Their performance will feature African dance, traditional songs, stilt walking, masquerading, martial arts acrobatics, and intensified African drumming.

This troupe is a versatile group of professionals, educators, nurses, veterans, police, business, community personnel, college students, school students and children. They have been taught by the best traditional and authentic African teachers, scholars and historians as well as great African American teachers since their beginning. They have performed at many prominent and prestigious events, including performing for and honoring leaders of countries, celebrities, politicians, religious, business and community leaders all over America and abroad in the Caribbean of Trinidad & Tobago and Africa. They have also represented the beauty of African culture by performing and being viewed by millions on cable, local, national and international television. More information about the group can be found here.

Please click here to register.

Tales from an African Drum: Black History through Storytelling – Sunday, 2/23 at 2pm.

(Live Performance)

Join storyteller Yvonne Ceaser as she shares interactive stories from the African tradition for adults and children.

Black History Jeopardy (Black Mothers Network) – Monday, 2/24 at 7pm.


Come test your knowledge of Black History and show your skills to help your team rack up points! Prizes will be awarded to winners. Topics range from sports to science to leaders to poems to movies to food and everything in between. Black History Jeopardy Game Night is a family friendly event–we will have coloring and a craft to keep the younger children occupied while the older ones and adults engage in some friendly competition playing the Jeopardy game geared toward Black History Month.

Grades4life is a 501c3 Nonprofit organization whose mission is to connect communities through education by initiating programs that support and motivate positive social and academic achievements within youth and community members. We work with schools, organizations, businesses, and communities with a host of programs that foster engagement in positive social and academic activities. Our goal is to serve as a model for a focus on well-rounded youth and citizens by encouraging active participation in socially conscious causes and volunteerism. Through partnerships and collaboration, we are able to get everyone involved with helping everyone get a better grade for life. We offer technology and programs to help motivate youth towards higher achievements. Through collaboration and partnerships Grades4life offers solutions designed to connect communities through education.

Black Mothers Network is a community of Black Mothers, of all ages, who recognize the need for us to reinstate village life among our children and within our communities, so we are empowered to flourish and prosper as a people. We put aside our minor differences and respect and relate to one another like sisters, so our children will respect and relate to one another like cousins. Each mother becomes an auntie to everyone else’s child and we look out for each other and all of our children. This changes the dynamics among our people and re-establishes a community-centered mindset which builds trust among us. Collectively we set standards – educationally, socially, intellectually, culturally, financially, etc. that we can all rally around. And we reinforce those standards through community projects, community building, community service and community events that cause us to rise as a people and gain knowledge of ourselves, our roots, our story and our culture. We teach and learn self-love and self-confidence, the value of life and balance, the importance and responsibility of being a producer, and the benefits of recycling wealth within our own community.

Please click here to register.

The Black Suffrage Movement – Saturday, 2/29 at 1pm.

(Lecture/Info Session)

The National Council of Negro Women (NCNW), Raritan Valley Section is hosting a black history month event celebrating the Black Suffrage Movement. The NJ Orators will perform a speech and a skit. Council woman Kimberly Francois will deliver a non-partisan talk about the black suffrage movement and the importance of voting.

The National Council of Negro Women, Inc. (NCNW), a 501(c)(3) non profit organization, is a council of national African American women’s organizations and community-based sections. Founded in 1935 by Mary McLeod Bethune, the NCNW mission is to lead, develop, and advocate for women of African descent as they support their families and communities. NCNW fulfills this purpose through research, advocacy, and national and community-based services and programs on issues of health, education, and economic empowerment. The Raritan Valley Section of NCNW primarily serves Somerset and Middlesex Counties.

If you have any questions about any of these events, please leave a comment below or call the Reference Desk at 732-873-8700 ext. 111.

Thanks for reading!
-George, FTPL

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