Since 1976, February has been designated as Black History Month to, as Gerald Ford said, “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” For Lake County residents, this weekend kicks off the month with some great events that focus on the telling of histories and stories in family-friendly settings.
Waukegan Public Library – Celebrating Amazing African American Contributions
Feb. 4 at 2 p.m.
What do the Super Soaker, NASA and Elmo have in common? In this interactive program for families and adults, storyteller Gwen Hilary will highlight achievements of African American artists, inventors, scientists and entrepreneurs often omitted from history classes. History, folktales and stories will be accompanied by musician Enoch Williamson on African instruments such as the shekere, sansa and djembe.
During the month of February, the Children’s Department at the Waukegan Public Library will be featuring a Freedom Quilt. Children and families can design and add their own square to the quilt.
Greenbelt Cultural Center – Profiles in Excellence
Feb. 5 at 3 p.m.
For 34 years this program has honored local African American achievements. This year’s theme is “Celebrating Champions – A Tribute to African American Athletes.” They will be telling the stories of and honoring Kimberly and Terry Altwarer, track stars who grew up in North Chicago. They will also honor two local sports programs: the North Chicago Flames Youth Football and the Waukegan Invaders Track and Field Team. There will also be choirs, photography displays and historical presentations. This family-friendly event is free.
Zion-Benton Public Library – DuSable Traveling Museum
Feb. 6 at 3 p.m.
For suburbanites that don’t want to or can’t make the drive to the DuSable Museum of African American History, the traveling museum is coming to them. The interactive exhibit explores the life and times of Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable, an African Haitian, who in 1779 became the first non-native person to establish a permanent settlement that is now Chicago. The exhibit is appropriate for all ages and open until 5 p.m.
Zion-Benton Public Library – Foot Soldier’s Journey
Feb. 11 at 10:30 a.m.
“Foot Soldier’s Journey” is the story of Thomas Armstrong, one of the Freedom Riders in the segregated Deep South. Mr. Armstrong will be selling his book at the event. All ages are welcome.
North Chicago Public Library – Freedom Riders
Feb. 11 at 2 p.m.
A free presentation of the documentary Freedom Riders will be held with refreshments provided. Registration requested at 847-689-0125. Appropriate for school age children and older.
Zion-Benton Public Library – History to Know: Freedom Sheroes
Feb. 20 at 1 p.m.
Educational film and discussion on the life and accomplishments of Harriet Tubman and Rosa Parks. For children in Kindergarten through 8th grade.
ZBTHS Horizon Campus- South Cafeteria – 27th Annual Black History Month Program
Feb. 25 at 11 a.m.
The Zion Park District and the Zion-Benton Public library team up for an event themed “It takes a Village.” The celebration will feature singing, dancing, guest speakers and poetry. Dinner will be served at the end of the program.