Black history series starts with Africa

The Dickerson Library will present a series of events in February highlighting history and culture.

History
Amaka Nwafor, who is from Nigeria, speaks to students on Monday at the Dickerson Library.

BY ANDREAS BUTLER
DAYTONA TIMES

All across the nation, February is celebrated as Black History Month and there are plenty
of events locally commemorating the contributions that people of African or Black ancestry have made to this country and to the world.

On Monday, a series of Black History Month events kicked off at the Dickerson Library, 411 S. Keech St., Daytona Beach.

The opening event, “Explore the Country of Nigeria,” gave a depiction into the history of Nigeria, its culture, its people, its customs, its traditions, connection to African Americans, connection to the slave trade, and more.

Bethune-Cookman University graduate student Amaka Nwafor, who is pursuing her master’s degree in public health, gave the lecture. Nwafor is from Nigeria.“I was nervous at first, but with the kids I got confident. They were very welcoming and polite. They asked a lot of questions. I’m honored to kick off this event. I love that I was able to educate the kids and give them a sense of how the world is outside of where they live,” she told the Daytona Times.

Series Origin

The series is hosted by the Odessa Chambliss Center for Health Equity at Bethune-Cookman University and the local chapter of the National Hook-Up of Black Women, a non-profit organization aimed to improve the lives of women and children through education, art, health and human services.

“Mrs. Maria Long with the National Hook-Up of Black Women approached us. They are also doing some events. We came to the library and spoke with their personnel,” said Dianna Lee, director of the center.

“We wanted to connect activities for the kids in the afternoon to share good things on being African American. It’s also part of being healthy, which is our departments’ goal at B-CU.’’

Long is a member of the National Hook-Up of Black Women, Inc. Sandra Strapp is the local chapter president.

Rest of Schedule

The series at the Dickerson Library runs through Feb. 27. The schedule is as follows.
All of the events are from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

• Monday, Feb. 10, African American Art
• Wednesday, Feb. 12, Telling Our Story
• Monday, Feb. 17, Healthier Eating
• Thursday, Feb. 27, African American Read-In

The Chambliss Center will handle the Monday events and the National Hook-Up of Black Women will lead the Read-In.

Dr. Earl Johnson, executive director of Leadership Development for Flagler County Schools, will give the Feb. 12 lecture on how to be a successful Black man despite growing up poor.

“We want the children to come out but parents are invited too,” added Lee.

‘Our Responsibility’

A kid who attended the kickoff called it a fun event.

Chauncy Hankerson, 6, who attends Horizon Elementary told the Times, “I had fun today. We got to do art projects and I got to learn about a people and culture.”

The organizers stressed the importance of teaching children about Black history.

“The issue is when you let someone else teach your children. It’s our responsibility as educated African Americans to empower our families to let them know every single thing that we’ve done,” Long related.

“Everything in this country that is good we have made it happen although we don’t often get credit.”

‘Visit Nigeria’

These types of event are another way for Blacks in America, Africa and the rest of the world can connect.

Nwafor emphasized, “You can use tools like African Ancestry or DNA and you may find that many Americans are Nigerians. There are many Nigerians in America. You can visit Nigerian restaurants, try the food and mingle with the people.

“Try saving up for a plane ticket to visit Nigeria. You can do this with other nations in Africa too. African Americans should study up on other African cultures, nations and traditions. This gives us a deeper understanding of each other. We basically do the same things but in different ways,’’ she added.

For more information on the series, contact Dr. Diana Lee at 386-481-2838 or email her at leed@cookman.edu.

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