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Black History Month Observances

February 08, 1996

February is Black History Month, an annual observance of the achievements and celebration of the culture of African Americans.

Negro History Week was first proposed by African American historian Carter G. Woodson in 1926. The observance became known as Black History Week in the early 1970s, and in 1976, Black History Month was established. It is still sponsored by the Assn. for the Study of Afro-American Life and History, an organization that Woodson founded in 1915.

The association distributes Black History Month study kits to help schools and other organizations celebrate the observance. Several Valley organizations have events planned. Following is a roundup of Valley events commemorating Black History Month:

Cal State Northridge, 18111 Nordhoff St., is using a theatrical production as the centerpiece of its Black History Month event program.

Starting Feb. 24, "Hating to See the Sun Rise," an oral history production by CSUN drama professor Peter Grego, will be presented in the school's Little Theatre. Grego created the piece from transcripts of interviews with former slaves conducted by the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s.

In conjunction with the play, CSUN plans a symposium from Feb. 23-24 titled "The American Theatre: The Documentary Performance and Its Emergence Out of Oral Tradition of the African Diaspora." Invited panelists include Beverly Robinson of the UCLA Theatre department, playwright and educator Paul Carter Harrison and Victor L. Walker of the Dartmouth College drama department. Topics will include the play and various facets of the African-American experience. A discussion will follow the performance on Feb. 28.

CSUN will also present jazz great Gerald Wilson and his band at the school's new Performing Arts Center at 8 p.m. Saturday. Dave Pier of the Performing Arts Center describes Wilson as "living, breathing, walking, talking black music history."

CSUN's Black Greeks will host a step show competition at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Performing Arts Center. And the CSUN chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers will have a Junior Day on Feb. 21 to encourage college-bound African American high school students to consider engineering as a major.

For more information, call (818) 885-2024 or 885-3086.

The Autry Museum of Western Heritage, 4700 Western Heritage Way, will present a Wells Fargo Radio Theater production of "Flying Blackbird," written by Dawn Comer in celebration of Black History Month. The play is a tribute to the world's first black aviatrix, Bessie Coleman. The program, starring Virginia Capers and Robert Doqui, will be performed live at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 17 in the Wells Fargo Theater. Tickets are $15. A taped performance will be broadcast on KSCA-FM at 6 p.m. Feb. 18.

The Autry will host a class this Saturday for children who want to learn how to make African wrap dolls. Wrap dolls were popular in the 19th century with African American women and children. The class, which will meet from 2-4 p.m., is designed for children 8 and older and costs $15 for members and $20 non-members.

An advanced wrap doll-making class for adults will be offered from 2-4 p.m. Feb. 17. Costs for the advanced class are $20 members, $25 non-members.

For more information, call (213) 667-2000.

Antelope Valley College, 3041 W. Ave. K, Lancaster, has planned a Saturday film-and-video series in honor of Black History Month. Each video will be introduced and a Q & A session will follow in Room 102 of the Student Services Center. Call (805) 943-3241.

Pierce College, 6201 Winnetka Ave., Woodland Hills, has several events planned for Black History Month by the United African American Student Assn.

* Family Unity Day, a festival featuring games, music and food, will take place from noon-3 p.m. Friday on the patio of the Campus Center. All you can eat for $1.

* An African marketplace with African arts, crafts and food will be presented from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday.

* A forum titled "Waiting to Exhale" about personal relationships will take place from 11 a.m.-noon Wednesday.

* A panel discussion on "Survival of the Race" is scheduled from 11-12:15 Feb. 21 in the Campus Center.

* Pierce's Black Greeks will stage a step show in the Campus Center 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Feb. 23.

* A bake sale will be presented with such African American specialties as carrot pie, bean pie and sweet potato pie Feb. 26

* Family Unity Day II, a culminating celebration of the month, will be held Feb. 28.

For more information, call (818) 719-6486.

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