Area kicks off celebration of Black History Month

Published: Saturday, February 1, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, February 1, 2003 at 12:43 a.m.

A month of black history events begins with song and speech today in downtown Gainesville.


FYI: Activities during the next week

  • An African-American Author Read-in, Sunday, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., Headquarters Library, 401 E. University Ave., and Alachua branch library, 14913 NW 140th St.

  • Stories, Games, Songs and Poems African-American Style, Monday, 7 p.m., Waldo branch library, 150 SW 2nd Place, all ages.

  • African-American Tales with storyteller Windell Campbell, Tuesday, 7 p.m., Headquarters Library, all ages.

  • A hands-on demonstration called "Home, Health and Hearth," Wednesday, 7 to 9 p.m., Thomas Center, 302 NE 6th Ave.

  • Film: "To Be Young, Gifted and Black," Feb. 8, 2 p.m., Millhopper branch library. A dramatic portrayal of the life and works of Lorraine Hansberry, author of "A Raisin in the Sun."

  • This year's kickoff event at the Downtown Community Plaza will be "a family affair," said Alachua County Commissioner Cynthia Chestnut, chairwoman of the Black History Month Celebration Committee.

    "We're hoping that parents will bring their children to participate in (today's) events," she said. "One of the most important features (of this month) is to educate children and the community.

    "Were trying to encourage people that black history is not just a one-month affair," she said.

    Today's celebration, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., is expected to feature a performance from Duval Elementary school drummers and songs from Prairie View fourth-graders with community members sharing information about the rest of the events planned for February.

    Also, City Commissioner Charles Chestnut will speak on the status of black Americans today and area publisher and artist Patricia Hilliard-Nunn will speak about ancient Egyptian history and the movement of Africans to the United States and other parts of the world.

    This year, the area will celebrate Black History Month with a variety of events, including films, poetry and book readings, storytellings and gospel concerts. This year's theme is African Culture and History.

    The Black History Month Committee has been working together with the Alachua County Library District to plan this month's events since March, Cynthia Chestnut said.

    Many of the events will be held at branch libraries, and Chestnut said that "serves as a catalyst for bringing people together."

    Sunday afternoon, the downtown and Alachua branch libraries will hold the "African-American Author Read-in," described as an opportunity for adults to share a book they've read by an African-American author while encouraging children to read.

    Patricia O'Donnell, spokeswoman for the library district, said two highlights of this year's activities will be when storyteller Windell Campbell will use puppets to tell African stories at the downtown library on Tuesday and the four workshops on Feb. 22 about tracing by genealogy researcher Tony Burroughs of Chicago State University.

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