Black History Month salutes include recognition for local icon


Here’s a look at some of the Black History Month recognitions and events planned throughout February in Volusia and Flagler counties.

160204_dt_front04WESH honors Huger, others
WESH 2 News is honoring Black Central Floridians this month who have made significant historical contributions. Daytona Beach’s Dr. James Huger is one of the seven featured.

Huger, the city’s first Black elected official, served as a commissioner from 1965 to 1971. He also was the first Black to serve on the Volusia County Council, holding office from 1973 to 1978 and serving as chairman in 1975 and 1978.

One of Huger’s greatest honors was serving as Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity’s general secretary and the role the brothers played in helping Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when he was arrested in Alabama supporting civil rights icon Rosa Parks, who refused to give up her seat on a public bus to a White man in the 1950s.

Huger received a major honor in 2012 when he was given the Congressional Gold Medal at a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol. He was among a group of African-American Marines called the Montford Point Marines who broke the color barrier during World War II.

The TV station’s spots will air throughout February and are posted on

Along with Huger, others highlighted are Bessie Coleman, a pioneer aviator from Jacksonville; the town of Eatonville; slain civil rights leader from Mims, Harry T. Moore; football Hall of Famer David “Deacon’’ Jones, who was born in Eatonville; Dr. James R. Smith, a pioneer medical doctor in Orlando; and Arthur “Pappy” Kennedy, Orlando’s first African-American elected official.

New Smyrna festival
The Mary S. Harrell Black Heritage Museum will present the 25th Annual Black Heritage Festival, Feb. 5-7, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Pettis Park, 314 N. Duss St., New Smyrna Beach.

Activities at the free festival are designed to interest students as well as seniors of many cultures and backgrounds. It includes educational tours, music, art, cultural exhibits and demonstrations, historical tools, food, storytelling, as well as life stories told by seniors from the New Smyrna Beach Westside community.

Visitors can watch woodcarving techniques; observe chores of the past, including clothes washing, soap making and quilting; see cane-grinding demonstrations; and tour a “shotgun” house.

More information: 386-416-9699

Black History Reality Program
The 13th Annual Youth Black History Reality program by the African American Cultural Center in Palm Coast will be presented at 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 21 at The Cultural Center, 4422 U.S. Highway 1 North.

This year’s theme of “The Struggle Continues” provides a broad stage for community young people to communicate the contributions of prominent African-Americans. The program is free but donations will be accepted to support the center’s scholarship program.

For more information, call The Cultural Center at 386-447-7030 or Jeanette Wheeler at 386-447-3218.

Freemanville Day Ceremony
The 13th Annual Freemanville Day Ceremony is Feb. 9 at Mt. Moriah Baptist Church, 941 N. Orange Ave. The service, which honors Port Orange’s African-American heritage, starts at 4 p.m.

Dr. Willie J. Kimmons will be speaking at the event on behalf of his 90-year-old godmother, the matriarch of Mount Moriah.

In 1867, Dr. John Milton Hawks, a Union Army surgeon, and his fellow Union Army officers established Port Orange after the Civil War.  The U.S. Postal Service officially recognized the community at 1noon on April 26, 1867.  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 went to Port Orange to work for the Florida Land & Lumber Company, which 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. A few families and individuals that stayed made up the pioneering African-American neighborhood of Port Orange known as Freemanville.

More information: Call 386-506-5522.

Civil rights lesson by Flagler AAUW
The Flagler County Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) will have Dr. Michael Butler, associate professor of history at Flagler College as its Feb. 13 speaker.

Butler will talk about the historic St. Augustine Civil Rights Movement. The St. Augustine Movement of 1963-64 was a major event in St. Augustine’s long history and had a role in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The event begins at 11 a.m. at the Pine Lakes Golf Club, 400 Pine Lakes Parkway. Lunch is $17 and reservations are required.

Contact Sally Smeaton at 447-4137.

Orange City festival
The Orange City African American Festival is Feb. 26 and 27 at Mill Lake Park, 207 E. Blue Springs Ave., Orange City. It will include a Battle of the Bands, Brain Bowl tournament, poster contest, sweet potato pie bake off and entertainment featuring the Vibe Band. Health screenings will be available, and the festival will include college recruiters, financial institutions and employment professionals.

African-American heritage events in Orange City begin at 6 p.m. with a talent and gospel program at Volusia International Bible Fellowship, 300 W. Blue Springs Ave. It will feature Faith Henderson and the Gospel Praise, Wanda Cobb, Ronald Freeman and the Singing Angels, and others.

More information: or call 407-314-1033 or 407-456-0610.

Storytelling in Ormond
The Ormond Beach Library will celebrate Black History Month with accomplished storyteller Clara Bivens. She will weave her stories for adults beginning at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. for children on Feb. 10.

On Feb. 14 from 2 to 5 p.m., Imani Kinshasa will moderate a panel discussion titled “The African American Experience.” Featured panelists will be Dr. Kwando Kinshasa and Gerri Wright-Gibson.

The library’s February events will conclude with a presentation of “The War Room.” This award-winning movie is family-friendly and explores the transformational role prayer plays using heart, wit, and humor to deliver a message.

All events will be held at the Ormond Beach Library, 30 South Beach St.

More information: Call Suzan Howes at 386-257-6036 or visit

‘Ghosts of Amistad’
The documentary “Ghosts of Amistad: In the Footsteps of the Rebels’’ will be aired on Feb. 19 at 10 p.m. and Feb. 20 at 2 a.m. on Daytona State College’s channel, WDSC TV15.

Tony Buba’s documentary is based on Marcus Rediker’s “The Amistad Rebellion: An Atlantic Odyssey of Slavery and Freedom’’ (Viking-Penguin, 2012). It chronicles a trip to Sierra Leone in 2013 to visit the home villages of the people who seized the slave schooner Amistad in 1839, to interview elders about local memory of the case, and to search for the long-lost ruins of Lomboko, the slave trading factory where their cruel trans-Atlantic voyage began.

The film uses the knowledge of villagers, fishermen, and truck drivers to recover a lost history from below in the struggle against slavery.

For more details, visit

Civil Rights exhibit
A new exhibit highlighting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement has opened at the Southeast Museum of Photography.

The exhibit brings together images by seven documentary photographers taken from three distinct portfolios that captured pivotal moments of the Civil Rights Movement in America.

The photographers are Benedict Fernandez, Leonard Freed, Matt Herron, Charles L. Moore, Gordon Parks, Flip Schulke and Dan Weiner.

“The Civil Rights Movement Restored’’ will be on display at the museum through April 17. The museum, a service of Daytona State College, is located at 1200 W. International Speedway Blvd. (Mori Hosseini Center, Building 1200).



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