Black history month is not new as its' origins date to Chicago 1915 with a national celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the emancipation sponsored by the state of Illinois. Thousands of African Americans traveled across the country to see the exhibits set up and the idea of a black history month was born. It was not until 1926 that black history month was formalized by a leading African American scholar, Carter G. Woodson, that claimed the month of February as Negro History week. February was chosen in deference to Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, both were born in February.
In Connecticut, two exciting programs and one museum celebrate black history month with interesting programs.
In Torrington for example, at the Torrington Historical Society, www.torringtonhistoricalsociety.org a Civil Rights program based on the Created Equal film series is planned for February 20. This film series is part of the National Endowment for the Humanities that uses documentaries to spark community discussions and understanding. On February 20, the Torrington Historical Society located on 192 Main St. in Torrington will host Tom Hogan, a legal history professor from UCONN that will discuss the film documentary titled The Loving Story, that looks at US Supreme Court decisions on interracial marriage. This program begins at 7 p.m. and is free. To register secure.qgiv.com/for/lhs.
The Discovery Museum and Planetarium, http://discoverymuseum.org, located on 4450 Park Ave. in Bridgeport is celebrating Black History Month on Saturday, February 22 from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. with a series of exciting events. There will be storytelling by Laconia Therrio, displays by the Harding High School Robotics Team, mini hair braiding and beading and science demos. A highlight of the event is presentation of the science of basketball with a professional women's basketball player. The film, "Journey to the Stars" narrated by Whoopi Goldberg is also scheduled. There will be fun arts and crafts projects inspired by George Washington Carver that can be taken home as a keepsake of this educational event. A dance troupe, choir and jazz ensemble will round out the events of the day.
In Danbury, take a tour of the studio of Marion Anderson, the famed opera singer that made Danbury her home. Anderson became iconic in the struggle for the civil rights movement when she performed on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at the urging of Eleanor Roosevelt after she was refused to sing for the DAR.
Anderson left her studio to the Danbury Historical Society www.danburymuseum.org and today visitors are invited to tour the studio on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This completely restored studio is located on the Danbury Museum's campus located on 43 Main Street in Danbury. Marion Anderson's birthday is February 27!