Observation of Black History Month takes many forms


January 31, 1993|By Dorothy Fleetwood | Dorothy Fleetwood,Staff Writer

Numerous events are planned throughout the region in February in observation of Black History Month.

"Ain't I Your Equal," a program that explores African-American life and struggle in 18th-century Williamsburg, will be presented in Virginia's Colonial capital Feb. 1-6. Activities include a video presentation, vignettes, demonstrations and walking tours. A sampling of the week's programs includes "African Traditions Retained in American Language, Foodways, Religion and Cultural Life," Monday; "Slaves and 18th-Century Law," Tuesday; vignettes about slave romance and fear of separation, Wednesday; "The Storyteller," with stories that focus on morals and survival techniques, Thursday; 18th-century American food, recipes and sampling, Friday, and "The Runaway," an experimental video program on Saturday. Morning sessions are scheduled Monday through Saturday at 11 and afternoon sessions from Monday to Friday at 1 and 3.

A walking tour focusing on two centuries of slavery is scheduled each day at 1 p.m., and there are also programs on black tradesmen of the past and a demonstration of "slave craftwork."

Admission is by Colonial Williamsburg ticket or pass. For information, call (804) 220-7662.

The life of the slave era has been captured on canvas by numerous folk artists. At the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Center in Williamsburg you can see the work of some of the

country's best-known African-American folk artists, such as the 20th-century sculptors William Edmondson and Ulysses Davis, along with a variety of items crafted by slaves. The center is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Some Colonial Williamsburg passes include admission to the museum, or single gallery tickets can be purchased for $6. Call (804) 220-7698.

Civil War re-enactors

The 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, the distinguished Civil War re-enactment group featured in the movie "Glory," will be at Colvin Run Mill in Great Falls, Va., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. to discuss the making of the movie and the role of African-Americans during the Civil War. The 54th Massachusetts was the first black group recruited in the North during the Civil War. Re-enactors will participate in authentic drill and firing demonstrations and set up a Civil War encampment, weather permitting, in the mill's picnic area. Hot chocolate will be available. Admission is free, but there is a charge to tour the mill: $3 for adults; $1 for children. The mill is at the intersection of Route 7 and Colvin Run Road about nine miles from the Tysons Corner exit of the Washington Beltway. Call (703) 759-2771.

Smithsonian events

The Smithsonian Institution in Washington lists more than four dozen films, lectures, tours, family programs and special performances during February.

Highlights include a national conference on gospel music, Thursday through Saturday; a lecture series on African-American sacred song and worship traditions beginning Thursday and a film series, "Unalienable Rights: Pursuit of the American Dream," Saturday and Feb. 13, 20 and 27.

There will be a tribute to the renowned baritone Todd Duncan on Feb. 9 at 7:30 p.m. in the Great Hall of the National Portrait Gallery. "American Sampler: Estevanico the Moor" will be

presented by Bill Grimmett Feb. 11 at noon and Feb. 27 at 11 a.m. in Carmichael Auditorium, National Museum of American History. "Songs from Pousse Cafe," a collection of songs from Duke Ellington's final score for the American musical theater will be presented Feb. 12-14 in Carmichael Auditorium.

Children can join workshops in sculpture, papier mache, collage, masks and kente-cloth weaving. The Resident Associate Program's Discovery Theater offers performances Tuesdays to Friday at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. and Saturdays at 1 p.m. in the Arts and Industries Building. Paul Kengmo and Company present dances that tell stories about life in Cameroon through ,, Thursday. "Tricksters, Fishtraps and Biscuits" is a show of African and African-American folk tales performed in story-theater style, Feb. 9 to March 13. Admission is $4 for adults; $3.50 for children 12 and under.

There are also lectures, films, storytelling sessions and tours. Most events are free. For information, call (202) 357-2700, or (202) 357-3030 for Resident Associate Program. Beginning tomorrow, a 24-hour recording will give information about Black History Month programs: (202) 357-4574.

Programs in Richmond

Living history presentations are scheduled at the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond in honor of Black History Month next Sunday, Feb. 21 and 28. Three programs are planned each day, beginning at 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

On Sunday, a member of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry re-enactment group will be on hand to discuss the famous black Civil War unit. Susie King Taylor, a slave who secretly learned to read and later became a teacher, will be portrayed on Feb. 21. The final program on Feb. 28 is about Robert Smalls, a slave and assistant steamer pilot

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