Black History Month celebrated with events, programs
East Multnomah County's schools, community cable television organization and the local libraries are celebrating February's black history month with events, shows and programs.
Black History Month has been marked in the U.S. every year since Gerald Ford first recognized it in 1976. It honors the important contributions of African Americans to the U.S.
The Reynolds School Board recently passed a resolution reaffirming its "ongoing commitment to building awareness and an inclusive society" and proclaiming February as Black History Month.
"The struggles and achievements of African Americans and their role in America's history profoundly influences and enriches the culture of the United States," the board's resolution said.
The board mentioned just a few of the country's African-American luminaries including: Marian Anderson, Maya Angelou, Louis Armstrong, Mary McLeod Bethune, Frederick Douglass, Duke Ellington, Lou Gosset Jr., Alex Haley, Zora Neale Hurston, Thurgood Marshall, Barack Obama, Colin Powell, Rosa Parks, Leontyne Price, Paul Robeson, Alice Walker and Phyllis Wheatley.
Stop by the Troutdale Library, 2451 S.W. Cherry Park Road, during library through Wednesday, Feb. 28, and view a black history museum curated by youngsters including students from Reynolds High School.
The students highlighted time periods in African-American history, conducted research and curated pieces for the displays. Call 503-988-5123 for more information.
Another fun library event is a performance by Habiba, a native of Ghana, at the Troutdale Library from 6:30-7:15 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 20. Habiba will show off the richness of West African culture through song and dance and gets the audience involved in simple dance steps, call and response, greetings and phrases and drumming.
Head back to the Troutdale Library from 2:30-4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24, and artists Terri and Wayne Jones will lead a class for kids and families on painting safari animals, African drums, shields or masks. The library will supply the ceramic pieces, paint, brushes, smocks, water tubs and mats. The pieces are painted with lead-free acrylic paint and ready to be taken home in just a few minutes.
MetroEast Community Media, the community-access television station in Gresham, made an intentional effort this year to gather a rich collection of programming for 2018 Black History Month.
"Our MetroEast community producers created a diverse slate of content celebrating a wide array of cultures, religions, and world views in over 10 languages on our channels. This year we intentionally focused our outreach to the African-American community to pay tribute to the rich culture and contributions they have made to East County and beyond," said Martin Jones, CEO of MetroEast.
MetroEast teamed up with Portland's Soul'd Out Music Festival to create a short overview video of last year's concerts. This is shown as part of the Black History Month Shorts series.
A slate of world premiere hip hop videos produced by student filmakers and their mentors will be featured this month, such as: Rayawnie and Raiyasha Paris (aka [E]mpress ) "Supernatural"; Christopher and Lefoster Williams (aka The Benefactorz) "Big Property"; and Dajour McKinley and Jordan Ribbon (aka Primacy Mob) "Poloetic."
A series of half hour performance videos filmed live at the Roseland Theater featuring young performing artists Dylan Jones (aka Spit Infinity), Dre Wollrabe (aka Doughboi), and DJ Everett (aka Pearson) will also air.
Rockwood Stories, another part of the Shorts series, is a collaboration with the city of Gresham highlighting stories about current residents of the community. Other programming includes The Beat Drops in Rockwood, a series of music videos by high school and college age musical artists.
A multipart program from The Black Parent Initiative (BPI), with national news anchor and political analyst Roland Martin is also airing during February.
"Behind Bars: The Making of Letters & Numbers" is a half hour special that takes an in-depth look at the inspiration behind the creation of this award winning short film. "Letters & Numbers" received an Honorable Mention in the White House Student Film Festival for the teenagers and their mentors who made it, resulting in an invitation to the White House.
Viewers can watch annual coverage of Portland's 32nd Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Breakfast featuring Gov. Kate Brown, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and keynote speaker Cheryl Grace, the senior vice president of U.S. Strategic Community Alliances and Consumer Engagement for Nielsen.
For a complete list of programs visit: metroeast.org/guide#.