Dover’s Citywide Black History Celebration focuses on Delaware’s history

DOVER — The Citywide Black History Celebration returns to the Sankofa Cultural Arts Center at 39 S. West St. in Dover this weekend with the themed event “Delaware’s Minority Education before Integration.” Free tickets are still available and required for admission as seating as limited.

There will be three performance times: Friday at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6) and Saturday at noon (doors open at 11 a.m.) and again at 4 p.m. (doors open at 3).

This program is designed to acquaint the public with the Delaware high schools opened in the early 1950s to serve the African-American, Native American and Moor student populations, including the impact these schools had on the future of Delaware. The program will feature alumni from the William H. Henry High School telling their personal stories from that time.

The invocation and introductions will be by the Rev. Dr. John G. Moore Sr., and moderator Dr. Donna Blakey will conduct interviews of the William H. Henry High School alumni members

Live musical performances will take place throughout the program by the Sankofa African Drummers and Dancers and the Sankofa String Orchestra.

Tickets are available at the Biggs Museum of American Art, 406 Federal St., Dover or the Delaware State News, 110 Galaxy Drive, Dover.

Additionally, you can order them online at www.DelmarvaEvents.net. Ticket holders must be seated by 15 minutes before the performance start time.

The Biggs Museum of American Art is participating again this year with a new exhibit “Lessons: An Exhibition By Billy Colbert.”

The topic of African-education under segregation will be highlighted through multimedia installations of rare videos and photographs of the time alongside artifacts from segregated schools provided by African-American community members from Kent County.

Mr. Colbert, a fine arts professor from Delaware State University, will be collecting oral histories from the local community centering on their experiences with education under segregation in Delaware. He hopes to compile these interviews into a documentary of local history, which will be broadcast from the museum. See the interview schedule on the museum’s website at biggsmuseum.org or call 302-674-2111 Ext. 108 to make an appointment to share your story and help paint an accurate depiction of the time for future generations.

The exhibit will be open from Feb. 7 to March 29.

A special “Meet the Artist” reception, sponsored by Chesapeake Utilities, will highlight the exhibition. The reception is Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 5 p.m. (doors open at 4 p.m.) at the Biggs Museum of American Art, 406 Federal St., Dover. Admission is free for this reception as well as for the First Saturday celebrations where family-friendly hands-on art projects always reinforce exhibition themes in the drop-in community studio. The museum is open Tuesday – Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sundays from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.

The Dover Public Library is also joining the celebration with a schedule of events focusing on music, history and visual arts.

Highlighted events include “From Africa to the Americas Via Music, Song, Dance and Stories” on Friday, Feb. 21 at 6:30 p.m. The program features Kamau Ngom, who will take guests on a journey from Africa to the Americas using music, song, dance, and stories as mediums, highlighting the similarities between traditional African culture and African-influenced culture in the Americas.

The library’s celebration of Black History continues into March with the program “The Woman’s Suffrage Movement – Below the Color Line” on Wednesday, March 11 at 6:30 p.m. The program focuses on the 19th Amendment, which was ratified giving women the right to vote, a struggle that almost predates the founding of the country.

This created many women heroes who sacrificed their time, money, and social status to win that right. Many courageous African-American women fought to assure that African American women also got the right to vote when white women got the right to vote.

This program is presented by historian Syl Woolford. Call the library at 302-736-7030 for more information and check their online event calendar for their full schedule for February and March at https://dover.lib.de.us/.

The Fourth Annual Citywide Black History Celebration is presented by the Delaware State News in partnership with: the Biggs Museum of American Art, Delaware State University, Dover Public Library, DonDel Production, the Inner City Cultural League and the Sankofa Cultural Arts Center. The event is sponsored in part by Chesapeake Utilities.

For more information, visit www.DelmarvaEvents.net or www.Facebook.com/DelawareStateNews/events.