Port Orange gears up for Freemanville Day Ceremony
The 11th Annual Freemanville Day Ceremony is Feb. 11 in Port Orange. The ceremony will be held at the Mt. Moriah Baptist Church, 941 N. Orange Ave., beginning at 4 p.m.

Each year, the City of Port Orange honors its African-American heritage, and hosts the ceremony in partnership with the Mt. Moriah Baptist Church and the Port Orange Historical Trust.

Students from Bethune-Cookman University will perform, accompanied on the piano by Dr. Rose Grace, Assistant Professor of Piano at Bethune-Cookman University and Chair/founder of the Music Outreach Program.

The performers are Marquis Thompkins, bari-tenor (sophomore Music Education major at Bethune-Cookman University) Courtnee James, mezzo soprano (junior Music Performance major at Bethune-Cookman University).

Port Orange was officially recognized as a community noon on April 26, 1867, by the U.S. Postal Service.  Dr. John Milton Hawks, a Union Army surgeon, and his fellow Union Army officers established Port Orange after the U.S. Civil War.

Initially, 500 former slaves settled near the shores of the Halifax River on public lands secured with the help of the U.S. Freedman Bureau in 1866.  They came to Port Orange to work for the Florida Land & Lumber Company, which Dr. Hawks and his partners formed.  An additional 1,000 freed slaves made Port Orange their home six months later.

Falling on hard times, the settlement, the company, and the integrated school disbanded in 1869.  A majority of the settlers returned to their home states or headed for area citrus groves looking for work.  Over time, the few families and individuals who stayed made up the pioneering African-American neighborhood of Port Orange known as Freemanville.

For more information on the ceremony, call 386-506-5522.


Session to focus on accessing ancestry databases
Learn how to get the most out of the Ancestry Library Edition and Heritage Quest electronic databases during a free program at 10 a.m. Feb. 12 at the Daytona Beach Regional Library at City Island.

Genealogy librarian Kim Dolce will cover the essentials of navigating these resources to help you explore your family tree. Reservations are not required.

For more information, call Kim Dolce at 386-257-6036, ext. 16315.


Professor to share story about Eatonville folklorist
140130_dt_focus02Dr. Lynn Hawkins, professor of English at Daytona State College, willpresent an enactment of “Sweat,” a 1928 story by Zora Neale Hurston,at 2 p.m. Feb. 15 at the Daytona Beach Regional Library at City Island.

The audience will be invited to participate in a reading of the story, which is set in an imaginary village near Orlando and portrays a wife’s revenge on her abusive husband.

Before the reading, Hawkins will introduce Hurston, her literary achievements and her personal challenges.

Hurston, who spent her childhood in Eatonville, was a famous African-American novelist, folklorist and anthropologist who was closely associated with the Harlem Renaissance.

Her novels and books of folklore resulted from extensive anthropological research and have proven invaluable sources on the oral cultures of African-Americans.

This free program is part of the library’s Connecting with theCommunity series, a two-year program funded in part by a Partnership Grant from the Florida Humanities Council.

For more information, call Deborah Shafer at 386-257-6036, ext. 16264.


Attorney to discuss estate planning Feb. 12
Daytona Beach Attorney Michael Pyle will discuss basic estate planning at 3 p.m. Feb. 12 at the Daytona Beach Regional Library at City Island.

Pyle will address wills, trusts, probate, and power of attorney and health care designation documents.

For more information, call Deborah Shafer at 386-257-6036, ext. 16264.


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