African American History Month – A time to gather, learn, create community

Many years ago my friend Marvin R. Anderson patiently helped me understand one of the very special features of Martin Luther King’s Birthday and African American History Month.   What I learned was that both the month and the day offer unique opportunity for all of us to learn and to celebrate as a community. Other holidays focus on gathering the family; MLK Day and Black History Month emphasize our need to know and strengthen our common heritage. A key to creating this essential sense of community is to learn together.

The Black History Month programs sponsored by the East Side Freedom Library (http://eastsidefreedomlibrary.org) offer a rich opportunity shape a community in a setting conceived to foster the concept of learning for all. As many Minnesotans know, the East Side Freedom Library is growing as the reincarnation of the Carnegie Library that for a century served residents of a vibrant, often needy, neighborhood in flux. The story of the ESFL is captured in a recent Star Tribune piece by Curt Brown (http://www.startribune.com/check-out-a-100-year-old-st-paul-library-s-rebirth/365543561/) and in an earlier Poking Around blog post. https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/tag/arlington-hill-branch-library/

All are invited to join fellow learners at the ESFL during this year’s African American History Month to experience a robust mix of films, speakers and presentations designed – all designed to share information and inspire ideas that will expand visitors’ appreciation of African American history.

Each Monday in February the Freedom Library will feature a film related to Black history; the film series is free and open to all; show time is 7:00 p.m. The rich schedule includes these films:

  • Rize (February 1,
  • The Watermelon Woman, February 8
  • Brother John, February 15,
  • Ghosts of Amistad, February 22,
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God, February 29 (a leap year special!)

***For more information about each film, including story and stars, check the ESFL website

February gets an early start with a unique event on Saturday, January 30, when retiring U of M professor Paula Rabinowitz will formally present her unique collection of pulp novels, many written by African American authors, to the ESFL The collection is featured in Rabinowitz’ award-winning book American Pulp: How Paperbacks Brought Modernism to Main Street. The presentation is at 3:00 p.m. at the Library.

On Saturday, February 13, 1:00 p.m. the Black Storytellers Alliance will share stories of the African American experience with learners of all ages.

Friday, February 19, is Twin Cities Labor Film Night at the ESFL. There will be a screening of the documentary From Selma to Soweto, one film in the Have You Heard from Johannesburg, the well-known series that “places the struggle against the apartheid regime in South Africa in the context of international solidarity.”

The East Side Freedom Library is located at 1105 Greenbrier Street on St. Paul’s East Side. For more information about the Library or the programs planned for African American History Month contact ESFL: info@eastsidefreedomlibrary.org or 651 774 8687.

 

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