Still plenty of time to cel­e­brate his­tory

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

We may not be buried in snow this Fe­bru­ary, but right now we are waist deep in Black His­tory Month, al­ready half­way into it.

And we in­vite and en­cour­age our com­mu­nity to re­flect on and honor the con­tri­bu­tions African Amer­i­cans have made, not just in U.S. his­tory, but right here in Charles County as well.

There are many dif­fer­ent ways this month to cel­e­brate the his­tory of African Amer­i­cans and their im­pact on the county. Here are a hand­ful. The Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land In­sti­tu­tional Eq­uity and Di­ver­sity Of­fice at the La Plata Cam­pus will be host­ing a cou­ple of events that are not only to ed­u­cate about the past but look at cur­rent state of racial is­sues in Amer­ica. The first event will be a screen­ing and dis­cus­sion of the doc­u­men­tary “13th” di­rected by Ava Du­Ver­nay, which fo­cuses on the prison sys­tem in the United States and how it re­veals the na­tion’s his­tory of racial in­equal­ity and in­jus­tice to­ward African-Amer­i­cans. The event will be from 2:30-4 p.m. Feb. 21 at the Cen­ter for Busi­ness and In­dus­try (BI Build­ing) Room BI-113E.

An­other event, “The Way It Was With Jimmy Bland” on Feb. 23 will fea­ture a dis­cus­sion with Bland, a base­ball hall of famer and Army veteran, will share his ex­pe­ri­ences in the Ne­gro League and in the ser vice. The event will be from 2:30-4 p.m. at the Cam­pus Cen­ter (CC Build­ing) in Room CC-100.

On Feb. 28, Move­ments for Change, an in­ter­group di­a­logue which will be ded­i­cated to black his­tory with a fo­cus on civil rights in Amer­ica, will be fa­cil­i­tat- ed by com­mu­nity or­ga­nizer and ac­tivist Al­lie Sim­mons from 6-7:30 p.m. in the BI Build­ing, Room BI-113E.

All three events are free and open to the pub­lic. For ques­tions about any of the events, call 301-870-3008, ext. 7659, or 301-934-7659, or go to http://www.csmd.edu/about/in­sti­tu­tional-equi-ty-and-di­ver­sity/.

Through­out the month, Charles County schools are fea­tur­ing spe­cial pro­grams to com­mem­o­rate Black His­tory Month.

And speak­ing of ed­u­ca­tion, for those who seek a more cine­matic way to cel­e­brate the achieve­ments of black Amer­i­cans, the seg­re­ga­tion-era-based film “Hid­den Fig­ures” is still play­ing in the­aters. Though it isn’t stated in the movie, one of the three bril­liant fe­male African-Amer­i­can NASA sci­en­tists de­picted in the film has ties to South­ern Mary­land. Mary Win­ston-Jack­son, por­trayed in the movie by Janelle Monáe, once taught math for a year to black stu­dents in neigh­bor­ing Calvert County. You can read more about Jack­son, NASA’s first black fe­male en­gi­neer, at www.nasa.gov/con­tent/mary-jack­son-bi­og­ra­phy.

In­deed, there are many op­por­tu­ni­ties to learn some­thing new about lo­cal African-Amer­i­can his­tory and to cel­e­brate it.

And it cer­tainly doesn’t have to be con­fined to Fe­bru­ary.

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