Still plenty of time to celebrate history
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.