Know your roots


Black History Month festivals and lectures scheduled locally


There are a variety of events scheduled for residents eager to celebrate Black History Month. Here are some of the local activities happening this month.

The African-American Museum of the Arts in DeLand will host a lecture by local historian Mike Brown on Feb. 17 at 1 p.m. The museum is at 325 S. Clara Ave.

Mary Ellen, executive director of the museum, stated the importance of attending Black History events.

“It’s important to know your roots and where you come from. It defines who you are, where you are and where you are going. People have lost their culture and have been involved in other identities,” she told the Daytona Times.

“We need to know our roots and the great contributions we have made not just to this country but the world. Our ancestors gave the world civilization, math, writing and much more.”

Later this month, the museum is planning to erect a Mother and Child sculpture donated by John Wilton and Ray Johnson. The sculptor is John Merchant.

Allen said the sculpture is of an African-American mother and her child carved in sandstone. A ceremony for the erection of the sculpture will be announced later, she said.

This Mother and Daughter sculpture will be erected this month at the African American Museum of the Arts in DeLand.

New Smyrna festival
The Mary S. Harrell Black Heritage Museum in New Smyrna Beach has scheduled its 27th Annual Black Heritage Festival for Feb. 9-11.

The festival will include arts and crafts, music, entertainment and events for children. The museum is located at 314 N. Duss St.

“Our event has grown, but we haven’t marketed it to make it a national or statewide event. We keep it to our community and Volusia County. We have a small town celebration, but we do have good crowds,” said Jimmy Harrell, executive director of the Mary S. Harrell Black Heritage Museum.

More history
Harrell wants to see more Black history actually being taught in February and through ought the year.
“We’re not doing what we should be doing. We celebrate and have fun. We do pay homage to our forefathers, but not enough. There are still a lot of things not mentioned during Black History month that were done as well as many things should be taught throughout the year,” he explained.

Teach others too
Harrell and Allen touted the importance of sharing the history with Black youth as well as other races and nationalities.

“We need African-American museums. There are 30 in Florida. It’s up to these institutions to bring in speakers, push out information, conduct workshops and get out into the community,” she related.

“Others need to know our history as well, which will tear down and destroy stereotypes, misconceptions and negative images of us. Churches, businesses and other organizations need to do the same. Our history isn’t being taught much in the education system. I know. I was in the school system.”

Festival lineup
On Friday, Feb. 9, the festival will open at Pettis Park at 11 a.m. Education Day takes place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. with tours of the Black Heritage Museum and art projects at the Alonzo “Babe’’ James Center. RSVP at 386-631-5551.
Friday Night Live will feature jazz and poetry beginning at 5 p.m. at Pettis Park.

On Saturday, Feb. 10, there will be a festival with music and entertainment as well as food and vendors in Pettis Park. A talent showcase begins at 11 a.m. and the Packrat and Smokehouse band performs at 3 p.m.

On Sunday, Feb. 11, a “Sunday’s Best’’ Gospel Showcase is set for 2 p.m. at Pettis Park. The park is adjacent to the museum.

Call 386-478-1934 for more information.

Lectures at library
The Ormond Beach Library has scheduled a month of sessions to celebrate Black History Month.

They include a “Message in Music’’ program from 2:30 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 4 with Jim Stewart, Ph.D., a professor emeritus at Pennsylvania State University. He will discuss Black music.

“Protesting in America’’ is scheduled from 1 to 4 p.m. on Feb. 8 with Lawrence N.
Green leading a panel discussion exploring different types of protests happening in the United States.

The “Kemetic (Egyptian) Judgment Scene Decoded’’ is from 1 to 4 p.m. on Feb. 11. Palm Coast resident Robert Whiting will talk about the ancient Egyptian belief. Whiting is a historian who specializes in Nile Valley civilizations.

“History as Spirituality’’ is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 28. Kwando Kinshasa, Ph.D., professor emeritus of sociology at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, will explore the experiences of African-American veterans.

For more information, call the library at 386-676-4191; then choose option 4.

Orange City festival
The City of Orange City has scheduled its sixth annual African-American Heritage Festival for Feb. 23 and 24.
On Friday, Feb. 23 at 6 p.m., a Talent/Gospel Ensemble takes place at Orange City’s United Methodist Church at 96 E. University Ave.

On Saturday, Feb. 24 at 9 a.m., the festival will commence at Mill Lake Park, 207 East Blue Springs Ave. There will be food, crafts, educational and health events, vendors, STEM projects, a Brain Bowl tournament and sweet potato pie contest.

For more information, call 407-314-1033 or 386-456-0610.

History at Cinematique
Cinematique of Daytona’s Coffee and Conversation Series will present James F. Daniels, “Metamorphosis – From Cotton Picker to Community Leader.”

The book of the same name discusses James’ life as a cotton picker in Georgia to moving to Ormond Beach and how he came to be a civil leader and businessman.

James’ presentation will be from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Feb. 17.

Cinematique is located at 242 S. Beach St., Daytona Beach. It’s an art house cinema specializing in international, national and local independent film.

For more information, call 386-252-3118.



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