Black History Month observances shaping up

BY ANDREAS BUTLER
DAYTONA TIMES

The start of Black History Month is less than a week away and programs to educate area residents on the achievements and sacrifices of African-Americans will be plentiful.

Black History Month grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson in 1926. In 1976, it became officially recognized by the U.S. government as Black History Month.

For Linda Herring, assistant director of the Mary S. Harrell Black Heritage Museum, it’s vital that young people be taught African-American history.

Harrell’s legacy
Each year, the New Smyrna Beach museum hosts a free festival. This year’s festival is Feb. 3-5 at Pettis Park.

“It’s extremely important to celebrate our history. My mother, who founded this festival which now bears her name, always wanted to teach young people about our history,” Herring said.

“She wasn’t prejudiced, but she had pride in our history. She wanted kids to know what happened and the things they don’t know about. She wanted kids to know our culture, heritage and where we came from. Our ancestors did many great things. We invented many things that we still use today.

You don’t know where you’re going unless you know where you come from.’’

The Mary S. Harrell Black Heritage Festival will include free tours of the museum, which his located near Pettis Park. The event will include music, art, cultural exhibits, demonstrations, historical tools, food, historical dress and storytelling.

Tribute to B-CU founder
The Museum of Arts and Sciences (MOAS) will kick off Black History Month a day early. On Jan. 31, a “Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Comes to Life’’ program will be held in partnership with the Florida Humanities Council.

The event will take place at the Mary McLeod Bethune Performing Arts Center at Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) from 6 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. The event is free to the public.

There’s also a Smithsonian-affiliated exhibit at MOAS that celebrates the opening o the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

“A Place for All People: Introducing the National Museum of African American History and Culture’’ is a commemorative poster exhibition that hails the museum that opened in Sept. 24, 2016. The posters highlight key artifacts that tell the rich and diverse story of the African-American experience.

The exhibit was organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service in collaboration with the museum. The museum is located at 352 S. Nova Road, Daytona Beach.

Film series at DBC
Daytona State College (DBC) will celebrate Black History Month with several activities highlighted by a film series of rare African-American filmmakers. They will be shown in the Southeast Museum of Photography Madorsky Theater, 1200 International Speedway Blvd., Hosseini Center.

“First Fight. Then Fiddle. Black Identity in American Cinema 1920 -2016’’ showcases films from a new collection titled “Pioneers of African-American Cinema,’’ a series of works by Black filmmakers focusing on race issues that went unaddressed by Hollywood for decades. The series will continue with new showings through mid-April.

“These films are rare and remarkable. Very few people are aware that they even exist, and our spring series marks the first time they will be screened in the Central Florida area,’’ said Eric Breitenbach, photography professor at Daytona State.

Each film in the series will be introduced by a Daytona State faculty member, and be followed by a question-and-answer session. All films begin at 6 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public.

Film schedule
•Feb. 1: “13th,’’ a documentary directed by Ava DuVernay, 2016
•Feb. 15: Within Our Gates, directed by Oscar Micheaux, 1920
•Feb. 22” “Two Knights of Vaudeville’’ and “Ten Nights in a Bar Room’’ directed by Ray Calnek, 1926
•March 1: “Rev. S.S. Jones Home Movies’’ and “Symbol of the Unconquered – A Story of the Ku Klux Klan,” directed by Oscar Micheaux, 1920
•March 8: “The Scar of Shame,’’ directed by Frank Perugini, 1929
•March 22: “Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution,’’ directed by Stanley Nelson, 2015
•March 29: “Selma,’’ directed by Ava DuVernay, 2015
•April 5: “4 Little Girls,’’ directed by Spike Lee, 1997
•April 12: “Welcome to Pine Hill,’’ directed by Keith Miller, 2012
•April 19, “Bamboozled,’’ directed by Spike Lee, 2000

MORE INFORMATION
Black Heritage Festival and Mary S. Harrell Black Heritage Museum: www.blackheritagemuseum.org
The Museum of Arts & Science’s website:www.moas.org
Daytona State film festival: Eric Brietenbach at 386-506-3542 or James Pearson at 386-506-3350.

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