Queens Scene

Queens Library Honors Black History Month

February is best known for flowers and chocolates, in celebration of Valentine’s Day; a day off to commemorate Lincoln and Washington if you’re lucky; or getting a weather prediction from large rodents. But February is also an important month for recognizing African American history. Many of us don’t truly know the message behind it. African American history, also known as Black History Month is celebrated in Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States. It was started in 1926 by a historian named Carter G. Woodson, to recognize important people and events in the history of the African diaspora. Today Black History Month has become a cultural exploration for understanding how Black culture has developed and to recognize the struggles undertaken throughout history. Here are a few events hosted by the Queens Library to commemorate Black History Month.

Learn To Play Mancala at the Hillcrest Branch (187-05 Union Turnpike, Flushing) on 2/26 at 4:30 pm. Mancala is a two player strategy board game played using small stones or seeds with a pitted board. It is one of the oldest known games, commonly played throughout Africa and India.

Queens Library Langston Hughes (100-01 Northern Boulevard, Corona) has been screening movies Saturdays at noon, throughout February that depict the struggles of notable historical figures from the African American community.

Urban Stages Presents The Gates of Equality, a dramatic presentation that describes the life of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through his speeches, press conferences, and fictional narratives, Monday, February 26, at 5 pm (East Elmhurst branch, 95-06 Astoria Boulevard).

Art Lecture: Great Migration Series by Jacob Lawrence Join QL for an interactive art lecture about the era in United States history known as the Great Migration. The Migration Series, a collection of paintings by Jacob Lawrence, will be your visual guide to the experiences of six million African Americans as they resettle in the North. Registration not required. Families are welcome. On Friday, February 23 at 2:30 pm (Rochdale Village, 169-09 137 Avenue, Jamaica).

Black History Month Performance: Children will dress up as a famous African American to highlight their accomplishments. Children will also recite sections of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Friday, February 23, at 4 pm (Arverne branch, 312 Beach 54 Street).

Claudia Rankine will discuss her book, Citizen: An American Lyric at the Hollis branch (202-05 Hillside Avenue) on 2/26 at 3:00 pm. Rankine’s work discusses racism and the use of derogatory language.

Other topics include Art and Poetry in the Struggle Against Racism, Saturday, February 24 at 2:30 pm at the Laurelton branch (134-26 225 Street) and Saturday, March 3 at 2:30 pm at the Central Library (89- 11 Merrick Boulevard, Jamaica). Claudia & Me will be held on Saturday, March 10 at 2:30 pm, also at the Central Library location.

And From Home You Can Stream Black History Month Films on Kanopy You can stream Kanopy’s in-depth collection of films by and about African Americans for free with your library card. Enjoy powerful documentaries, the work of groundbreaking pioneers, and much more!

—Scott Lakeram,

Annette Hanze Alberts

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