A roundup of OCL programs celebrating National Black History Month

ImageTOMS RIVER –   February is recognized in the United States as National Black History Month and it is celebrated by Ocean County Library with special programs, crafts, films and concerts.

The theme for this year’s national celebration is “At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality: The Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington.”

Vocalist Leticia Walker will present a musical tribute to the “Sirens of Song” Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughn and Billie Holiday at Manchester, 21 Colonial Dr., Sat. Feb. 16 at 2 p.m.

Take a musical journey across the US as vocalist Kati Beddow Brower and guitarist Bo Pezzullo tour four distinct types of rhythms of the Blues that emerged from different regions of the country. The concert will be held at the Tuckerton branch, 380 Bay Av., Monday Feb. 25 at 7 p.m.

Pianist Fred Miller returns to the Jackson branch, 2 Jackson Dr., Wed. Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. with his program about music from the Harlem Renaissance.

Arrested Development’s bassist, Isaiah “Za” Williams will discuss the power of Hip Hop and the positive impact that musicians can have on their community at the Toms River branch, 101 Washington St., Thur. Feb. 21 at 7 p.m.

Historical-actor and author Noah Lewis will portray Pennsylvania’s Revolutionary War hero Ned Hector at four branches. Hector, a free black man and teamster for the Continental army, saved a large cache of arms during the 1777 battlefield of Brandywine.

The programs will be held at:

  • Lakewood, 301 Lexington Av., Wed. Feb. 6 at 4 p.m.
  • Stafford, 129 N. Main St., Manahawkin, Wed. Feb. 6 at 7 p.m.
  • Little Egg Harbor, 290 Mathistown Rd., Mon. Feb. 25 at 4 p.m.
  • Waretown, 112 Main St., Mon. Feb. 2 at 7 p.m.

The Ned Hector programs are sponsored in part with funding from an OceanFirst Foundation Arts and Cultural Grant and the Ocean County Library Foundation.

Ocean County Historian Tim Hart will present a 3-part series about the lives and contributions of black soldiers at the Lacey branch, 10 E. Lacey Rd., Forked River, Wednesdays  Feb. 6  and Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. and Feb. 20 at 6 p.m.

Lorraine Stone, dressed in historical costumes, will speak about Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad at:

  • Berkeley branch, 30 Station Rd., Sat. Feb. 9 at 2 p.m.
  • Little Egg Harbor, Tue. Feb. 12 at 7 p.m.
  • Plumsted, 119 Evergreen Rd., New Egypt, Wed. Feb. 20 at 7 p.m.

Stone will also give dynamic readings of works from African American poets such as James Weldon Johnson, Paul Laurence Dunbar and Langston Hughes Sat. Feb. 16 at 2 p.m. at the Pt. Pleasant Borough branch, 834 Beaver Dam Rd.

Teens will learn about the culture of African cooking and share samples Thur. Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. and share the poetry of Maya Angelou, then create their own poetry, Thur. Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. Both programs will be held at the Lacey branch.

Teens will also learn about George Washington Carver and his accomplishments and discoveries about peanuts, soybeans, and sweet potatoes at Berkeley Tue. Feb. 26 at 6:30 p.m.

Children will hear stories and create crafts centered around Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at Island Heights Fri. Feb. 15 at 3:45 p.m.

Other children’s programs include creation of a collage as they celebrate the art of Romare Bearden at Beachwood, 126 Beachwood Blvd., Mon. Feb. 18 at 6:30 p.m.; and a lesson at Lacey Thur. Feb. 7 at 5 p.m. about George Crum who created the potato chip. Kids will then make their own homemade potato chips.

The Toms River branch and the Toms River NAACP will present their annual food tasting, dancing and music program Sat. Feb. 16 at 2 p.m. Norman Taylor, New Jersey’s representative to the 2011 and 2012 International Blues Challenge, will perform.

“Bi-Okoto, Engage, Educate and Entertain through African Culture” will take visitors on a journey from NJ to Africa as it presents the cultures, languages and history of the continent through authentic songs and folk stories. People will learn songs, dance, various greetings and basic West African music rhythms that they will be able to perform. The programs will be held at Lakewood Wed. Feb. 20 and Stafford Thur. Feb. 21. Both programs will begin at 7 p.m.

More information about these and other programs can be found at the library’s Web site

www.theoceancountylibrary.org .

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