Join us this February at the library as we honor African American History Month with special events for adults, teens, and children. This year’s theme for African American History Month is “Black Migrations.” Programs will include guest speakers, book talks, genealogy research, literature reviews, and storytimes.
We will have two programs with special guest Darryl Gates at our Mooretown Branch and Hollywood/Union Ave. Branch. He will present “Black History 2019: Black Migrations and Urban Realities” at Mooretown on Saturday, February 9 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and again at Hollywood/ Union Avenue on Saturday, February 16 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Gates, a retired Caddo Parish instructor, will discuss the movement of people of African descent to new destinations and subsequently to new social realities during his presentation. A question and answer period will follow.
On Sunday, February 10, our Main Branch will host a program featuring Shreveport’s Civil Rights Leader, Reverend Dr. Harry Blake, and his new book, Plantations, Protests, Pulpits. In the book, Blake talks about his migration to Shreveport, his role in Shreveport’s civil rights movement through his work with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., his life experiences and lessons learned. During the program, LSUS Professor Dr. Cheryl White will give a review about Shreveport’s African American History, Blake will give a book talk about his memoirs, and Green Oaks High School Jazz Band will provide live music. A question and answer period will follow. Blake’s book will be available for purchase for $30.
Local author Gwendolyn Hampton will also give a book talk on her new book, Relics of a Woman, during the Red River Readers Book Club Meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, February 18 at the Cedar Grove/ Line Avenue Branch. Hampton will share her memoirs of growing up in the heart of Cedar Grove, and what life was like during that time. The Red River Readers Book Club meets monthly and reads titles selected by the club members. All are welcome to join the club.
The public is invited to come and hear the intriguing true story of “The Free African-American Jones Family” program on Monday, February 11, at the Cedar Grove/ Line Avenue Branch from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. As history has it, most African-Americans experienced slavery before the Civil War, but some achieved their freedom well before this time. Reverend John Jones was one of them. Jones was a free Baptist preacher who lived in Shreveport before the Civil War and founded Antioch Baptist Church. Recent research has identified John Jones’ father as a free African-American soldier in the American Revolution.
Our Genealogy Department will also present two workshops delving into African American family history. “Your Family's Story: An African-American Family History Workshop” will be presented on Saturday, February 16 from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Broadmoor Branch. The Genealogy Department will also host an African American Family History Workshop at the Cedar Grove/Line Avenue Branch on Monday, February 25 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Both workshops will teach the participants how to research African American family history, find sources of information on African American history, and review case studies of African American genealogy.
In addition, several programs will be hosted for teens including “Teen Space: Black History Literature” and “Celebrating African American History Month: Most Anticipated Books of 2019.” “Teen Space: Black History Literature” will take place on Wednesday, February 20 at the North Shreveport Branch. Participants will discuss books written by and about African Americans in contemporary, historic and science fiction. The dialogue will take place from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.in the meeting room at the branch.
On Saturday, February 23, teens are encouraged to participate in the program “Celebrating African American History Month: Most Anticipated Books of 2019” for teens. The program will take place at the Main Library, downtown at 424 Texas Street at 4pm. During the program library staff will spotlight upcoming newly released Adult and Young Adult books written by African-American authors. Information will be presented on both the authors and the books. Participants may enter a drawing to win a signed print by New Orleans artist Marcus Akinlana.
Teens will also have a chance to celebrate Black History Month on Tuesday, February 26 at 4:30 p.m. during the program "Words Have Power: Let’s Talk About It!" at our Cedar Grove/Line Ave. Branch.
Special African American History Month story and craft times for children will also be held at our branches during February. The Main Branch will hold Magic Carpet Storytime featuring African American books and crafts each Friday at 10 a.m. The Means Branch, located at 7016 Magnolia Lane in Ida, will host a variety of activities and crafts for children on Wednesday, February 20 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., while the Hosston Branch, 15478 US Hwy 71 in Hosston, will host a drop-in African American Story Hour on Friday, February 22 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cedar Grove/Line Ave. Branch will hold a preschool storytime at 10 a.m. on February 21 celebrating the work of featured author Ezra Jack Keats and the book Whistle for Willie.
In addition, we are also participating in the National African American Read-In, an initiative that strives to make literacy a significant part of Black History Month. During the African American Read-In, the public can participate in open mic, spoken word, literature reviews, and storytimes at participating branches.