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For the third year, the City of Petersburg has planned a month long series of events in commemoration of Black History Month. The national theme for the 2016 celebration is Hallowed Ground: Sites of African American Memories.
“The City is pleased to again present this outstanding cultural and educational opportunity for this community.” says Brian C. Little, Sr., Director of the Department of Cultural Affairs, Arts and Tourism. “Several places within Petersburg mark hallowed ground. From our battlefields, churches, museums, cemeteries and homes to the many unsung ancestors who have dwelt there, all should be lifted within this historic commemoration.”
The signature event of the month is the Black History Month Expo to be held on Saturday, February 20 at 4 p.m. at Petersburg High School with guest emcee Cavell Phillips. This family oriented experience with youth and adult activities features an opening ceremony, performances by TSoul, Tamika Patton in an Ode to Jazz tribute to Billie Holiday, theatrical and tap performance by Derome Scott Smith and high school students, Gospel Truth of Richmond Choir and other performances. The free event will culminate with a performance by Plunky which transports the audience from the African Diaspora to the present through narrative and music.
The Petersburg Public Library will also host events throughout the month. On each Thursday in February, the library will show a series of films and include talks and discussions for youth and adults. The Film series includes Selma, Selma Lord Selma, The Help and The Great Debaters. In addition, the African American Read In will focus on the significance of literacy in the community by bringing in readers from throughout the community. Several other featured programs include a soul food cooking demonstration and a presentation on slavery by Bobby Peterson. In conjunction with the showing of Selma, a panel will engage in a discussion, “Black in America” with local citizens who were a part of the Civil Rights Movement sharing insights. For other programs at the library, visit the website at www.ppls.org.
The Department of Cultural Affairs, Arts and Tourism/Petersburg Museums will sponsor an African American History bus tour of historic sites on Saturday, February 27 at 10 a.m. The guided tour will be led by Lucious Edwards, Archivist and Historian Emeritus at Virginia State University. Reservations can be made by calling (804) 733-2400. A spoken word event will be held on Wednesday, February 24 at Union Train Station at 7 p.m. with Kondwani Fidel’s Accusations on Addiction. Petersburg City Council will also issue a Proclamation in recognition of Black History Month 2016.
For a complete listing of Black History Month events, please visit www.petersburgva.gov or call (804) 733-2430.