Dover coming together for “African American History Live”

Sankofa Dancers Daja Jernigan, right and Savayah Brown, left, lead the group during a rehearsal in January. (Delaware State News file photo)

DOVER — The first citywide Black History celebration “African American History Live” will be held Friday, Feb. 24, at the Sankofa Cultural Arts Center at 39 S. West St, Dover.

The free admission event, sponsored by the Delaware State News and Chesapeake Utilities, runs from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Local community advocates will make presentations on little-known African American history, including:

• Theater by Donald and Delores Blakey.

• Hair styles of yesterday and today by Michael Angelo.

• Education by Rebecca Hollingsworth.

• Religious music by Carlos Holmes.

• Fashion and Hats by Maxine Lewis

• The Dream by the Rev. Dr. John G. Moore Sr.

The Sankofa String Ensemble will provide musical entertainment and light refreshments will be served.

“We are privileged and delighted to present this celebration to our community,” said Tom Byrd, Delaware State News publisher.

“I would especially like to thank Rev. John Moore for his role in organizing the program, and Reuben Salters for the passion he brings to all his work at the Sankofa Cultural Arts Center and the Inner City Cultural League.

“We are thankful the event is at the Sankofa, and we are excited to help showcase not only local talent bringing black history to life, but the outstanding facility. The Sankofa Cultural Arts Center and its youth programs deserves the support of the entire community.”

Jim Moore, vice president of Chesapeake Utilities, said, “We are excited to take part in the First Annual Citywide Black History Celebration here in Dover. Our employees value the opportunity to connect with our customers and the members of the communities we serve and we’re proud to be involved with an event honoring the great history and culture of this community.”

Rooted in Dover

The Rev. Moore touted the varied partnerships behind the new event.

The Rev. Dr. John Moore recites the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic “I Have A Dream” speech from memory for an event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the speech in 2016. He will perform as Dr. King during a citywide Black History Celebration Feb. 24 at the Sankofa Cultural Arts Center. (Delaware State News file photo)

“With so many Black History Month events happening throughout the First State and the capital city, it is great that we can call one a true collaboration that will involve several churches, organizations and an array of people that will share the importance of not just African-American history but local history directly rooted here in Dover.”

Also scheduled are displays featuring quilting, art, military service, Tuskegee Airmen, politics and dancing.

“The selected performances will bring a fresh perspective to local African-American roots that impact all people. From theater by the talented Blakeys, spiritual music by the gifted Carlos Holmes, education by the legendary Reba Hollingsworth, haircare by the dynamic Michael Angelo, fashion by the dashing Maxine Lewis and Martin Luther King, Jr. by myself,” the Rev. Moore said.

Thespian and singer Henry Greene from the Calvary Baptist Church will serve as master of ceremonies.

“The program will also give many in the community a firsthand look at the Sankofa Cultural Arts Center,” the Rev. Moore said.

“The history being presented at this program ties directly into local African-American heritage and we want the audience to get two things: that this history is American history and that it is history that should be celebrated 365 days a year, not just one month.”

Alluding to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s beliefs as timeless, the Rev. Moore said, “We are still dealing with issues like discrimination, racism, economic disparity and in a real sense de facto segregation within our communities.

“This program will shine light on our commonality and humanity and there is nothing like a live presentation. We hope we get a grand turnout from every sector of the community. It will be a program that will make you laugh, think and celebrate.”

For more information, email dsnevents@newszap.com or call 741-8200.

Military progress reviewed

A week before the citywide celebration, the progress of African-American’s military leadership experiences will come to life at the Sankofa Cultural Arts Center.

Re-enactors will portray U.S. military graduates Benjamin Oliver Davis Jr. (Class of 1936) and Henry Ossian Flipper (Class of 1877) during shows on Friday and Saturday, beginning at 7 p.m.

Reuben Salters and the Inner City Cultural League Inc., will host the event that’s part of the Chautauqua Lives series designed to bring education, arts and culture to communities.

Mr. Davis was promoted to four-star general by President Clinton in 1998. He was a fighter squadron commander escorting bombers over Europe.

Born as a slave in 1856, Mr. Flipper became the first African American to graduate from West Point, earning a commission as a second lieutenant. He later became an assistant to the Secretary of Interior.

For more information, call Mr. Blakey at 697-6723 or 747-4924.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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