January 30, 2008 > Black History Month Celebration
Black History Month Celebration
By Sam Rao
Learn more about Black culture and history via a series of performances and exhibits in the Tri-City area from Noon - 8 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 9, at the Newark Community Center. This free event, called the "Black History Month Celebration," is hosted by the Afro-American Cultural and Historical Society (AACHS) and will feature keynote speaker Dr. Dennis Brown, Director of Secondary Education for the Fremont Unified School District. Brown will speak on the theme of the event, "The Mis-Education of the Negro" - a seminal book on Black history by Dr. Carter Goodwin Woodson, an educator, publisher, author, and historian.
Woodson was born in New Canton, Virginia, to former slaves Anne Eliza (Riddle) and James Henry Woodson, both of whom were illiterate. Woodson, also known as the "father of Black history," chose to celebrate Black history during February to celebrate the birth month of Fredrick Douglas and Abraham Lincoln. The month-long celebration for Black history came about over 50 years after 'Negro History Week' was first established in 1926 by Woodson. Black History month was officially declared during the U.S. Bicentennial Celebrations.
According to Doris Rutland, event coordinator for the Black History Month Celebration held on Saturday, Feb. 9, a wide variety of displays, exhibits and performances will be on display in the Newark Community Center for the event. Highlights include an exhibition of prominent Black inventors and personalities, and booths on traditional arts and crafts, memorabilia, and soul food. There will also be displays by the Tuskegee Institute and performances by the Chicago Stepping Dancers, Berkeley Senior Center Line Dancers, and East Oakland School. Poetry will be read and guests will have the chance to see a special opera performance by singer Vincent Jones, a student at Newark Memorial High school.
The Tri-City celebration will be centered on the life and works of Woodson (Dec. 1875 - April 1950), who in his life-long message said that Blacks should be proud of their heritage and that all Americans should also understand it, not just as dates and numbers but also a correct version of the social conditions that existed at that time.
Woodson also said that a time would come when a separate celebration of Black History Month would no-longer be required, especially when all Americans would willingly recognize the contributions of Black Americans as a legitimate and integral part of the history of this country.
The Tri- City's AACHS was established in 1973 and has since organized annual celebrations for Kwanzaa and Martin Luther King Jr., as well as other community service activities. The current president is Nancy Eady. Founder and Treasurer of the AACHS is Jean Powell Ficklin, who was also the areas first Black school teacher.
It is estimated that about 10 million Africans were brought forcibly to the Americas between 1518 and the official abolition of slavery in 1865.
As of July 1, 2006, the estimated population of Black American residents in the U.S., including those of more than one race, was 40.2 million. They made up 13.4 percent of the total U.S. population.
There were 2.4 million Black American military veterans in the U.S. in 2006. More military veterans are black than any other minority group.
There are 44,900 Black American physicians and surgeons, 80,000 postsecondary teachers, 48,300 lawyers, and 52,400 chief executives.
Black History Month Celebration
Saturday, Feb 9
Noon - 8 p.m.
Newark Community Center
35501 Cedar Blvd., Newark