Library programs to bring black history to life Stories, songs, puppets will teach, entertain

February 02, 1997|By Consella A. Lee | Consella A. Lee,SUN STAFF

During Black History Month, Anne Arundel Public Library audiences will learn how slaves made their way north to freedom using guts, determination and the Underground Railroad.

They will learn about a former Tuskegee Airman, part of the squad of proud, daring black men who provided hundreds of escorts for bombers during World War II in the European Theater without losing one.

And they will be entertained by the folklore and fables of Len Cabral, 48, of Cranston, R.I., in a program called "Stories of Color From Around the World."

Using mime, poetry and song, Cabral will take audiences on a 45-minute journey back in time, dropping in bits and pieces about his ancestors, who came from the Cape Verde Islands in West Africa in the early 1900s and settled in New England.

Cabral began telling stories in 1972, when he was a teacher's aide in charge of 15 active 5-year-old boys at a day-care center in Providence, R.I.

"Some of their attention spans were 30 seconds on a good day, so I had to tell stories in an engaging way to hold them. And once they realized this was fun, it was easier to get them involved in other things," said Cabral, who is married and the father of two teen-age girls.

Even 24 years later, he still recalls the impromptu story he told the boys about a rabbit with big floppy ears.

He wove into the story each of the boys' names and turned them into characters in the tale.

He will perform at 7 p.m. Feb. 25 at the Eastport-Annapolis Neck branch, 269 Hillsmere Drive; at 7 p.m. Feb. 26 at the Severna Park branch, 45 McKinsey Road; and at 7 p.m. Feb. 27 at the Provinces branch, 2624 Annapolis Road.

Other Black History Month events include:

Scroeder Cherry, believed to run the only puppet show in the country featuring a black cast and puppet-maker, will present a 30-minute performance of "Underground Railroad, Not a Subway" at 11: 30 a.m. Feb. 15 at the Broadneck branch, 1275 Green Holly Drive.

The show is about Kyle, an adolescent slave who escapes to freedom in the North, where he meets people involved in the abolitionist movement. Other blacks and whites help him as he travels the Underground Railroad. The program is for ages 7 through adult.

LeRoy A. Battle, a former Tuskegee Airman who is also a jazz musician and educator, will share his experiences in a program called "LeRoy Battle Remembers" at 7: 30 p.m. Thursday at the South County branch, 5940 Deale-Churchton Road.

The program, for adults, is a continuation of Battle's November talk on his experiences, which are chronicled in his book, "Easier Said: The Autobiography of LeRoy A. Battle."

Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Pub Date: 2/02/97

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