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Black History Month: Celebrating African American Heritage

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Black History Month was first observed as Negro History Week by Historian Carter G. Woodson in 1926. Dr. Woodson chose the month of February because it was the birthday of two important figures who contributed to the abolition of slavery: Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. Dr. Woodson, whose parents were slaves, was self-taught and went on to Harvard where he obtained his PhD. In 1976, President Ford officially declared February as Black History Month in the USA. The goal of Black History Month is to recognize nationally the contributions of Blacks.

During February, the Bronx Library Center will be hosting a series of events, recognizing the contributions of Blacks to American culture. These cultural events are free and open to the public. Events are listed below:

Saturday, February 5, 2011 at 2:30 pm
A Musical Tribute to Sam Cooke by NYC Jazz/Pop Vocalist Cody Childs and his all-female band. Childs will perform some of Sam Cooke's signature songs and also give biographical notes on the singers life.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011 at 6:00 pm
HARLEM ON MY MIND: Plays, Songs & Poems by Xoregos Performing Company, a 70-minute celebration of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and 1930s, when so much of black music and literature began to enrich American culture. The company commissioned four works that epitomize the literary dynamism of the Harlem Renaissance. These will be interspersed with early songs by Duke Ellington and Fats Waller and Irving Berlin’s HARLEM ON MY MIND, which was written for Ethel Waters. Poems by Langston Hughes and other poets of the era will also be featured.

Saturday, February 26, 2011 at 2:30 pm
A Musical Tribute to the Lady Legends of Jazz by Members of the New Amsterdam Musical Association. The following Vocalists will be featured:

Antoinette Hamlin as Carmen McRea, Delores Blackman as Dinah Washington and Gia Williams as Minnie Ripperton accompanied by Charles Lavelle on Piano.

On view at the Bronx Library Center, February 11 - March 11, 2011
Asserting Their Rights:
Puerto Ricans and African Americans
In Their Quest for Social Justice - An Exhibit

 Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, Jesús Colón, Pura Belpré, Evelina López Antonetty and Antonia PantojaLeft to right, top to bottom: Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, Jesús Colón, Pura Belpré, Evelina López Antonetty and Antonia Pantoja

This exhibit is co-sponsored by the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College (Centro) and was curated by Pedro Juan Hernandez, Archivist of Centro.

Asserting Their Rights looks at how Puerto Ricans, in their efforts to validate their place in the United States as American citizens, developed networks and adapted strategies of community activism from African Americans and other minorities.

One aspect that this exhibition explores is the inter-ethnic approach taken by many Puerto Rican and African American leaders from grassroots organizations in their fight for racial, political, and cultural equality. Within this context, this display maintains that during this collaborative process unique ties were built and that its repercussions surpassed the historical moment.

The exhibition has been organized chronologically and thematically depicting the evolution of the interaction and collaboration between Puerto Ricans and African Americans in their quest for social justice.

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