Throughout the month of February, the Allen County Public Library invites the community to celebrate Black History Month with a variety of programs, presentations, and experiences that celebrate Black heritage and success.
“Family History Month is a time for all of us to reflect upon our families, their history, and their stories. It is a reminder to ask questions, dig out our family photos, and explore our roots,” says Allison DePrey Singleton, genealogy services manager. “There’s no better way to understand who we are, than by exploring who we come from.”
Among the offerings are two new collaborations for the ACPL. The first, kicked off Black History Month with “Cultural Intelligence: The Essential Ingredient for Supporting Black Employees” which featured local leader and Vice President of Employee Wellbeing at Sweetwater, Kristal Walker. Ms. Walker will discuss how to use cultural intelligence to build personal and professional relationships in the workplace. This event occured on Wednesday, February 1 at 2 p.m. at the Main Branch (900 Library Plaza).
Additionally, the Library will conduct a Sneakerhead Art Contest in partnership with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. “Sneakerheads” have a deep appreciation for sneakers and sneaker culture which have been a long-standing source of art, expression, fashion, and function in the Black community. Students in grades K through 12 are invited to create their own colorful dream-shoe design and enter to win a prize. The top finalist submissions will be judged by players from the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, who will select the first-place winner! Youth can participate by stopping by any ACPL branch or by downloading the contest forms at acpl.info/SneakerheadContest. The contest will run through February 28.
Additional Black History Month activities include:
Feb. 3 at Georgetown Branch & Feb. 21 at Pontiac Branch. African American Read-In – The nation’s oldest read-in dedicated to diversity in literature and has reached more than 5.5 million participants around the world.
Free Breakfast – This program was developed by the Black Panther Party in 1969 to cook and serve food to inner-city youth. The program was such a success that the Panthers set up kitchens across the nation, feeding 10,000 children every day before school. Held at multiple dates and locations, visit website for details.
Sit-In Commemoration – Remember the Greensboro Four with donuts and a screening of the documentary “February One: The Story of The Greensboro Four” which tells the story of four young men who walked into a Greensboro, NC Woolworth’s Department Store in1969, sat at the lunch counter and ordered coffee and doughnuts. They were denied service because they were Black but refused to leave. A protest movement grew from their brave actions and contributed to the end of segregation. Held at multiple dates and locations, visit website for details.
Feb. 16 at Main Branch. Movie Night @ the Library featuring “Till” – Film screening of “Till”, the true story of Mamie Till-Bradley, whose 14-year-old son Emmitt Till was murdered by white supremacists in 1955. The story was an integral moment in the Civil Rights Movement. The film is rated PG-13.
All events are free and open to the public. For more information about Black History Month activities at the library, patrons can call (260) 421-1200 or visit a local ACPL branch.
The Allen County Public Library has fostered lifelong learning and discovery in northeast Indiana for more than 125 years. The ACPL consists of fourteen branches throughout Allen County, serving more than one million visitors per year. The ACPL’s collection includes more than 2.7 million items, with a circulation total of 3.6 million items borrowed annually. It also houses The Genealogy Center, the nation’s largest public genealogy research center, and The Rolland Center for Lincoln Research, consisting of more than 20,000 artifacts related to President Abraham Lincoln.