February is Black History Month and there are five exciting events happening at MCL to help celebrate.
Music and dance are important aspects of Black culture and there are many opportunities this month to experience traditional African dance. If you are in SE, head over to Midland Library and participate in the West African Dance series with Habiba. Students will learn the origin, technique, and purpose of the dances and corresponding rhythm. Featuring traditional African vocal music, call and response style songs, and drumming from Ghana, Senegal, and Guinea, classes begin this Thursday February 13, 2014 @3:30PM, and continue for five weeks.
More interested in watching than participating? Visit Troutdale Library in East County, to see the Mathias Galley African Dance Ensemble on Sunday February 16, 2014 @ 2PM. Mathias will perform a ceremonial African flower dance that is used during weddings, births, and holidays. If you missed the amazing drumming from Shi Dah at the beginning of the month at Midland Library, you still have one more chance to catch them. The group will be drumming at Kenton Library on Saturday February 22, 2014 @ 3PM. Shi Dah performs Ghanaian drumming, dance, songs, and rhythms.
North Portland Library hosts a unique program from Portland based artist Damaris Webb for teens and adults that explores what is means to be black. "Box Marked Black" explores challenging questions: Is it the shade of your skin? The kink of your hair? Where you grew up? Is it learned? What is its language, both in the body and on the tongue? See the performance and join the conversation on Sunday February 23, 2014 @ 2PM.
If you are looking to do research in honor of Black History Month, be sure to access the Black Resources Collection at North Portland Library. The Collection offers more than 7,000 items—books, film, periodicals, music, and more—relating to the African American experience. One of the Collection’s special features is the Fisk University collection which contains reprints from the Fisk University Library Negro Collection. These reprints are historical works written by and about African Americans between 1800 and 1930. Michael Powell of Powell’s Books donated these volumes.
Want history with a more local focus? Central Library presents “Who is York” on Sunday February 16, 2014 @ 2PM. York, slave to William Clark and comrade on the Lewis and Clark Expedition, was an unofficial member of the Corps of Discovery, and has been omitted from many historical accounts of this journey.
At the library we see every day as an opportunity to celebrate Black history and the culture, and this happens weekly with our Black Storytime for children and their parents/caregivers. Join us Saturdays at North Portland library (10:30) or Midland Library (11:30) as we sing, read, dance, and play!