Email

Embracing Black History

Jan 26, 2015

BE044191We begin a month of celebrating Black and African-American history. Of course, 28 days is hardly enough to learn and understand the breadth, depth, and nuance of the African experience since 19 Africans arrived in Virginia in 1619, but it’s a start.

The observance—celebrating Black history and increasing the knowledge of Black history—began in 1926 when historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History announced the second week in February to be Negro History Week.

Woodson chose the week that included the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, two men whose actions shaped African-American history and who, since Lincoln’s assassination in 1865 and Douglass’ death in 1895, had been celebrated in Black communities.

 

Carter G. Woodson

Carter G. Woodson

 

Yet Woodson was up to something more than building on tradition. Without saying so, he aimed to reform it from the study of two great men to a great race. Though he admired both men, Woodson had never been fond of the celebrations held in their honor. He railed against the “ignorant spellbinders” who addressed large, convivial gatherings and displayed their lack of knowledge about the men and their contributions to history.

More importantly, Woodson believed that history was made by the people, not simply or primarily by great men. He envisioned the study and celebration of the Negro as a race, not simply as the producers of a great man. And Lincoln, however great, had not freed the slaves—the Union Army, including hundreds of thousands of black soldiers and sailors, had done that. Rather than focusing on two men, the black community, he believed, should focus on the countless black men and women who had contributed to the advance of human civilization. (Asalh100.org)

The expansion of Black History Week to Black History Month was first proposed by the leaders of the Black United Students at Kent State University in February 1969. The first celebration of the Black History Month took place at Kent State one year later, in February 1970. (Milton Wilson, “Involvement/2 Years Later”)

In 1976, as part of the United States Bicentennial, the informal expansion of Negro History Week to Black History Month was officially recognized by the U.S. government during the administration of President Gerald Ford.

 

bhm__large

 

Here are some of the many events—receptions, award dinners, lectures, photography exhibits, films, art, dance workshops, genealogy, and open mic—highlighting, discussing, exploring, featuring, and celebrating Black history in America.

Black History Month Events (official text):

Friday, Jan. 30
“Opening Reception”  Join the Black History Parade & Festival Planning Committee at its Opening Reception from 3-5 p.m. at the Jackie Robinson Community Center, 1020 N. Fair Oaks Ave., in celebration of the 33rd annual Black History Month Parade and Festival.  This year’s theme is “Our Heritage: The Bridge to the Future.”  Call (626) 744-7300 for more information.

Saturday, Jan. 31
“Red, Black & Green Honors Dinner”  Black History Parade & Festival Planning Committee honors parade grand marshals and presents community service awards, 7-9 p.m., Hilton Hotel, 168 S. Los Robles Ave.  Call the Jackie Robinson Center, (626) 744-7300, to purchase tickets, $60 per person.

 

ZAE Women's Restrictive Club, Pasadena City College, 1945

ZAE Women’s Restrictive Club, Pasadena City College, 1945

 

Sunday, Feb. 1
“Historical View of African-American Families”  Explore the lives of African-American families through African-American literature and the civil rights movement in a special exhibit, Hastings Branch Library, 3325 E. Orange Grove Blvd., Feb. 1-28.  Open during regular hours. Call (626) 744-7262 for info.

“Exploring Human Culture Through Art” works by Luis Ituarte on exhibit Feb. 1-28, at the Hastings Branch Library, 3325 E. Orange Grove Blvd.

Tuesday, Feb. 3
“Genealogy Search”  Discover your heritage with the Pasadena African-American Genealogy Group 3:30-5:30 p.m. at the La Pintoresca Branch Library, 1355 N. Raymond Ave. (626) 744-7268 for info.

 

Cpt. Alton Ballard, 1941, All-Negro Mustang Fighter Group; photo courtesy of PCC

Cpt. Alton Ballard, 1941, All-Negro Mustang Fighter Group; photo courtesy of PCC

 

Saturday, Feb. 7
“Praise Dance Workshop”  Learn liturgical dance techniques and how to incorporate praise dance props into your routine from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Alkebu-Ian Cultural Center, 1435 E. Raymond Ave.

“Photo Glimpses of Black History in Pasadena”  Enjoy a lecture and slideshow on the long and rich history of African-Americans in Pasadena starting at 10:30 a.m. at La Pintoresca Branch Library, 1355 N. Raymond Ave. Presented by Adrian Panton, attorney and Pasadena Museum of History docent.

“Genealogy Search”  Uncover your past with the Pasadena African-American Genealogy Group from 2:30-4:30 p.m. at the Lamanda Park Branch Library, 140 S. Altadena Dr. (626) 744-7266 for details.

“Youth Open Mic and Film Festival”  Experience an evening of enlightenment through poetry, spoken word, song, rap and film from 5-9 p.m. at the Alkebu-Ian Cultural Center, 1435 E. Raymond Ave.

Sunday, Feb. 8
“Black Film Showcase”  Watch “Dear White People,” a satirical film about race relations, 2 p.m. at the Jackie Robinson Community Center, 1020 N. Fair Oaks Ave. Sponsored by the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Pasadena Alumnae Chapter.

 

Duncan family outside their Pasadena home, circa 1944; Pasadena Museum of History "Family Stories: Sharing a Community's Legacy" (2010)

Duncan family outside their Pasadena home, circa 1944; Pasadena Museum of History, “Family Stories: Sharing a Community’s Legacy” exhibit (2010)




1 Response for “Embracing Black History”

  1. Gather At theTable performance Feb 14, 2015 3-5 La Pintoresca! a must

Discussion



Fiore

Flintridge Books

Lyd and Mo Photography

Louis Jane Studios

Homage Pasadena

Search