Brooklyn Libraries boast diverse Black History Month calendar

Guess who’s coming to Brooklyn for Black History Month?

According to spokespersons for the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL), there will be a diverse array of visual artists, novelists, musicians, dancers and scholars headed to the borough and its 60 branches in celebration of Black History Month.

The independent library system acclaimed for serving the literary needs of 2.5 million residents of Brooklyn is the fifth largest library system in the United States announced that 60 neighborhood libraries located throughout the borough will provide free tribute programs and services for all ages and stages of life throughout the month.

Headlined by Nobel Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison, the calendar listing of celebrated guests plan to fill every day of the shortest month of the year with enlightening and insightful presentations rarely offered for a singular …

Morrison will arrive on Feb. 2 to read excerpts from her most recent novel “God Help The Child.”

“We are honored to welcome the legendary Toni Morrison to Brooklyn in celebration of Black History Month, and proud to honor the African American community’s innumerable contributions to literature, the arts and academia in Brooklyn and beyond,” Linda E. Johnson, President of Brooklyn Public Library said.

Already booked to capacity, the 7:30 pm event slated for Congregation Beth Elohim, will engage Princeton Professor Claudia Brodsky and afterwards, participants will be able to dialogue with the guests during a question and answer session.

The following afternoon at 5 pm, Gail Lumet Buckley will captivate audiences at the Central Library Dweck Center. The daughter of actress Lena Horne is author of “The Black Calhouns: From Civil War to Civil Rights with One African American Family.”

Her appearance in the borough will detail some of her experiences and some experienced by her extraordinary mother who broke barriers in Hollywood during an era when Black was not considered beautiful nor bankable. From the viewpoint of an American family who witnessed and participated in the most crucial events of the 19th and 20th centuries, the family tale will be appropriately hailed. A conversation with Pulitzer Prize-winning culture critic Margo Jefferson will follow.

Throughout February, BPL will also commemorate the fortieth anniversary of Mildred D. Taylor’s “Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry,” a searing work of young adult fiction revered for its unflinching examination of racism and violence in the Depression-era South, by showcasing Taylor’s original manuscript along with other artifacts in Central Library’s Youth Wing. The exhibit will be curated by Leonard S. Marcus. Illustrator Kadir Nelson will debut pieces created for the book’s anniversary alongside the manuscript.

Music: The New Cookers

Feb. 4, 7:30 pm, Central Library Dweck Center

This Brooklyn-based ensemble excels at hard-bop jazz with a subtle hip-hop influence. Melding old-school bebop with contemporary rhythms, the sextet forges a bold, distinctive sound that pays tribute to their borough’s rich and diverse musical heritage.

Music: Sheneatha, Shake it Baby, Shake it!

Feb. 6, 1 pm, Central Library Dweck Center

Vocalist Sheneatha will lead audience members on a sing-and-dance-along through various eras and genres. Interactive activities and fun facts will expose children to the songs and artists their parents love, with lyrics adapted for youngsters.

Kahn Humanities Lecture: Eric Foner on the Underground Railroad

Feb. 7, 12:30 pm, Central Library Dweck Center

Few scholars have influenced our understanding of American history as profoundly as Eric Foner. He will tell the dramatic story of fugitive slaves and the antislavery activists who defied the law to help them reach freedom.

Conversation: Gotham: Darryl Pinckney’s Black Deutschland

Feb. 13, 4:00 p.m., Central Library Dweck Center

“Gotham” host Rob Spillman will discuss the new novel by Pinckney, a longtime contributor to The New York Review of Books and the author of a previous novel, “High Cotton” and two works of nonfiction, “Blackballed: The Black Vote and US Democracy,” and “Out There: Mavericks of Black Literature.”

Music: Classical Interludes: Brooklyn Art Song Society and the Classical Theatre of Harlem Celebrate Shakespeare

Feb. 14, 4:00 p.m., Central Library Dweck Center

BASS celebrates the Bard with performances of songs by composers who were inspired by his work, including Hector Berlioz, Ernest Chausson, Gerald Finzi, Francis Poulenc, Roger Quilter, Franz Schubert, Richard Strauss, and Peter Warlock. Actors from the Classical Theatre of Harlem perform texts and scenes for Shakespeare’s plays.

Dance: Dance of the African Diaspora

Feb. 20, 1 pm, Central Library Dweck Center

Children explore and celebrate the dances of the African diaspora. Participants will dance their way through West Africa to the Caribbean and Latin America before finally touching down in the United States. Part dance performance, part dance instruction, the presentation guarantees 100 percent excitement.

Reading: It Starts with Just a Seed

Feb. 27, 1 pm, Central Library Dweck Center

Award-winning children’s book author and illustrator Bryan Collier will read from his recent works, including Trombone Shorty, Dave the Potter, Rosa and Knock Knock. In addition to the above calendar, select branch events include:

For Kids: Black History Month Bedtime Stories

Feb. 4, 6:15 pm, Washington Irving Library

Inspiring stories of African American heroes are slated to celebrate Black History Month.

For Kids: What is Your Dream? A Black History Month Arts & Crafts Celebration

Feb. 17, 4 pm, Sheepshead Bay Library

Use your artistic and creative talent to celebrate Black History Month in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

For Teens: Black History Jeopardy

Feb. 17, 5:15 pm, Cypress Hills Library

Come learn and play a fun game about African American history. Meet new friends, win prizes, Have fun and learn

For Kids: African-American Heritage Hollywood Squares

Feb. 19, 2 pm, Coney Island Library

Just For Fun: Motown Karaoke

Feb. 25, 5:30 pm, New Utrecht Library

Like to sing? Do you want to show your talents or just have fun? Join us for an evening of Motown hits.

For Kids: Kids Create; Celebrate Harlem Renaissance Painters

Feb. 29, 4 pm, East Flatbush Library

Celebrate the achievements of Black artists in honor of Black History Month, and create your own painting!

In addition to BPL’s large selection of books in more than 30 languages and its wide array of author talks, literacy programs and public computers, the system also distinguishes itself providing eBooks and eVideos readily available around the clock.

From their internet portal, catalog information and free homework help are also available to customers of all ages 24 hours a day at the website: www.bklynlibrary.org.

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