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MLK Community Center's Guide to Black History Month

Updated: Feb 20


Pictured: Westerly Library's "Community Voices Series:" "History in Balance" Zoom event, scheduled for February 10th at 5:30 pm. Facebook event


While the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center will not hold any on-site programming for Black History Month this year, we'd like to help spread the word about events that are happening around the community, either remotely or socially-distanced in-person.


While we strive to ensure this collection is as expansive as possible, we apologize if there are any events we have unintentionally omitted. Feel free to suggest additional programming to Gianna, MLK Community Center Marketing & Events Coordinator, via email (gsollitto@mlkccenter.org).


We have also added all of these Facebook events on the MLK's Facebook events page, if you would like to view them all in one place.


As shared by Sankofa Community Connection: every Saturday throughout February at 12 noon: Virtual Presentation: "The Active Accomplice" Lessons in Anti-Racism. $59-$197 to participate. Register here


Wednesday, February 3 at 6:30 pm: Virtual Discussion: “Slavery in Colonial Rhode Island with Fred Zilian,” presented by the Portsmouth Free Public Library. This lecture covers slavery in Rhode Island from its inception in 1636, the very year the colony was founded, until the beginning of the American Revolution in 1775. Free. Facebook event


Thursday, February 4 at 1 pm: In-Person: “Beginning of Back History Month” at Newport City Hall. Join Sankofa Community Connection at City Hall as the red, black, and green flag is flown to honor Black History Month. A Community Award Ceremony celebrating a special community member is to follow at Sankofa Community Connection, 2 Broadway, Newport. Free. Facebook event


Saturday, February 6 at 1 pm: In-Person Walking Tour: “Creative Survival.” Discover the early history of Newport’s people of color, enslaved and free. Explore the places where enslaved people lived and labored, along with locations where free African-Americans built their enterprises and supported a new local industry. Presented by the Newport Historical Society. $15 non-members, $10 members & military. Purchase tickets; Facebook event


Wednesday, February 10 at 5 pm: Virtual Lecture: The Newport Historical Society is pleased to host Dr. Akeia de Barros Gomes for a virtual lecture Captain Paul Cuffe: His Work, Vision and Living Legacy. Free. Register; Facebook event


Wednesday, February 10 at 5:30 pm: Virtual Discussion: In recognition of Black History Month, please join the Westerly Library & Wilcox Park for a virtual discussion on the history and current efforts of Rhode Island Slave Medallions. Free. Register; Facebook event


Wednesday, February 10 at 6:30 pm: Virtual Lecture: “American Revolution Slavery with Fred Zilian,” presented by the Portsmouth Free Public Library. The lecture will cover the period from the beginning of the American Revolution to the beginning of the lead-up to the American Civil War (1775-1850). Free. Facebook event


Thursday, February 11 at 3 pm: Virtual Discussion: “Teen Black History Month 101,” presented by the Westerly Library & Wilcox Park. This conversation will scratch the surface of Black History in the United States and talk about the current climate of debate. Free. Facebook event


Friday, February 12 at 6:30 pm: Virtual Presentation: the 50th Reverend Robert L. Williams National Black History Program. The George Downing Award will be awarded to Dr. Michael Browner Jr., and the Dr. Marcus F. Wheatland Award will be awarded to Max W. Newsome. Free. Tune in at 6:30 here.


Wednesday, February 17 at 7 pm: Virtual Presentation: "History of Black Tennis in Rhode Island," presented by the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Free. Register here; Facebook event


Thursday, February 18 at 5 pm: Virtual Discussion: Join the Newport Historical Society for a discussion that explores the future of living history programs. Free. Currently full, but waitlist is open. Facebook event


Monday & Tuesday February 22 & 23 at 7 pm: Virtual Program: The Beloved Community and Stages of Freedom present a two-part virtual event with guest speakers, powerful images, and timelines that show how Rhode Island African Americans led the nation in the creation of the Black church and how it built community, nurtured talent, taught its children and faced down slavery and racism. Free and open to the public! Register here


Wednesday, February 24 at 6 pm: Virtual Discussion: "George Washington, Slavery and The Enslaved Community at Mount Vernon." Presented by the Redwood Library and Athenaeum. Free. Register here; Facebook event


Wednesday, February 24 at 5 pm: Virtual Discussion: "Increasing Diversity in Sailing." Presented by Sail Newport. Executive Director of the MLK Community Center, Heather Hole Strout, is a panelist, among others. Free. Register here; More info


Wednesday, February 24 at 7 pm: Virtual Presentation: "Damion Thomas: Althea Gibson and the History of Tennis," presented by the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Free. Register here; Facebook event


Thursday, February 25 at 6 pm: Virtual Presentation: "RI Slave State: A Critical Exploration into Rhode Island's Central Role in Helping to Make the U.S. a Slave Society, and the Moral Call for Reparations." This seminar is the last in a series of Black History Month teach-ins hosted by Providence Black Studies Syllabus. Providence Black Studies Syllabus (PBSS) is a community-based program focused on teaching Black Studies as a foundation for social change. Free. Register here


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