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Black History Month 2024: Celebrate with these Library Programs

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Black History Month 2024: Celebrate with these Library Programs

black history month 2024

Black History Month is an annual celebration honoring the triumphs and struggles of African Americans throughout U.S. history and celebrating their rich cultural heritage.

The 2024 theme is “African Americans and the Arts” spanning the many impacts Black Americans have had on visual arts, music, cultural movements, and more. 

We are marking the occasion with an art program and 2 lectures that highlight the artistic heritage and contributions of African Americans. 

Art Workshop for Adults

The adult art workshop on February 1st is a Kente cloth inspired paper weaving project. 

“Kente” refers to a textile originating in Southern Ghana made of handwoven strips of silk and cotton fabric. They were believed to have originated with the Asante tribes in West Africa.

Inspired by these colorful fabrics and in honor of Black History Month, we will create unique paper weavings using Kente design papers embellished with handmade paper beads. The finished weavings can be framed or laminated as placemats. This workshop will be led by an art instructor and all supplies will be provided.  

Please note this is open only to Livingston Library card holders 18 and up with registration and space is limited.

Lectures

On February 5 at 7pm, we present “Harmonizing History: Celebrating the Legacy of Three Black Composers

Every composer brings their own unique voice to their orchestral compositions. 

The music of some brilliant composers of African descent has too long been neglected in Western classical music tradition.

Three Black composers who have created memorable orchestral music are Joseph Bologne (The Chevalier de Saint-Georges), Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, and Florence Price.  Dr Robert Butts, musical composer, conductor and lecturer will delve into the lives and musical legacy of these influential composers.

Bologne was French  and  a prolific composer who wrote string quartets, symphonies and concertos and made his mark in Paris in the late 18th century. He is remembered as the first classical composer of African origins. 

Coleridge-Taylor who was English and active at the turn of the 20th century, skilfully married African-American folk music with concert music. 

Florence Price was an American and one of the first women to have her symphonic work performed by major symphony orchestras. 

Dr. Butts will give an overview of their lives and works, and show how they were part of the music world of their eras. Maestro Butts and the Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey have performed works by these three wonderful composers and in this talk he will focus on one work for each composer: Chevalier de Saint-Georges – Sinfonia Concertante ; Samuel Coleridge-Taylor – Noveletten ;  Florence Price – Concert Overture #2, and will  play video clips from performances of each work.

On February 26 at 7pm, we present “Lena Horne: Smashing Barriers”

Lena Mary Calhoun Horne was a  groundbreaking African-American singer, actress, civil rights activist and dancer.  Horne’s career spanned more than seventy years, appearing in film, television, and theater.

With a unique blend of extraordinary beauty, talent and grit, black vocalist and actress Horne overcame a troubled family life, the bigotry of the Jim Crow era, and the cluelessness of Hollywood to become a musical icon. 

Entertainment historian John Kenrick returns to celebrate the legacy of a show business legend and activist who broke new ground for black performers, with backstage stories and exciting performance videos.

–Archana Chiplunkar, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian

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