Russellville library announces Black History Month program

When Russellville Public Library Director Ashely Cummins found out the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute had an outreach arm that offered mobile programs, she contacted them right away to see if she could schedule a visit during February for Black History Month. Although it was a challenge to line it up timing-wise with the Institute, Feb. 4 is now set as a special Black History Month celebration at the library.

“It came together really last minute, so I’m hoping we have a good crowd,” Cummins said. “They were pretty well booked solid, so it took a lot of back and forth before we could get confirmation, but they were able to squeeze us in.”

Feb. 4 will be a day packed with activities, speakers, displays and performances, with attractions to appeal to all ages. The following Civil Rights Institute attractions and additional activities are scheduled:

10 a.m. – Tug-O-War: This interactive activity utilizes tug-o-war to teach students about major civil rights events such as the Children’s Crusade, 16th Street Baptist Church bombing and the Greensboro Sit-in. This activity is suitable for 4th through 12th grades.

11 a.m. – Freedom Feud: This game is based on Family Feud with questions that were polled on Facebook about the Civil Rights Movement.

Noon – Black History Jeopardy: This trivia game like Jeopardy will focus on Black History.

1 p.m. – The Martin Luther King Jr. Choir will perform; there will be a poetry reading by Ella Mae West; and guest speaker will be the Rev. BJ Bonner.

2 p.m. – Closing comments and viewing of the 2014 civil rights film “Selma.”

West said she was encouraged by her niece, Tammy, who is also organizing an art exhibit for the day’s events, to participate and perform. West is looking forward to sharing the poem, “What If I Am A Black Woman?” author unknown.

“It’s like a tribute to black women,” West said. “It deals with all the different personas of a black woman.”

West said she thinks it’s great the library has planned a special event for Black History Month, and she hopes the community will take advantage of it.

“I love to do things during Black History Month,” she said. “I just wanted to be a part of it.”

Bonner, who will speak during the 1 p.m. hour, is the minister at the College Avenue First Baptist Church in Russellville. “He is going to talk about some black and civil rights history and share a positive message,” Cummins said.

In addition to all of these activities and attractions, Cummins said Katernia Cole-Coffey with the Franklin County Extension will also have some exhibits set up for visitors to peruse.

Cummins urged families to come and spend the whole day at the library because there will be activities that will appeal to all ages. All activities are free, and no pre-registration is required. Cummins said the library hopes, through this event, to attract new groups of people to the library and learn new ways to reach out and benefit the community. “Inclusion is really important to us, and we recognize we haven’t done anything like this in the past.”

 

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