Wednesday marks the start of Black History Month and events are planned throughout Harford County to share the history of African Americans with a broader audience. Here are a few of the programs and activities planned:
Begins Feb. 2 | Integration Now: The Harford County Civil Rights Project
A new exhibit, “Integration Now: The Harford County Civil Rights Project,” opens Thursday at the Hays-Heighe House on the Harford Community College campus in Bel Air.
This exhibit explores issues of race and civil rights in Harford County from three different angles: housing, education and public accommodations. It connects local and personal stories to state and national narratives of the civil rights movement.
A physical companion to Prof. James Karmel’s grant-funded Harford County Civil Rights Project digital app, it also draws on numerous oral histories from community members. It provides space to voice difficult questions from Harford County’s history, to reflect on how far the county has come and considers the work that remains.
Exhibit hours are Tuesday, 1-3 p.m., Thursday, 3-5 p.m. and Friday, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. through June 30. Pre-registration is required: 443-412-2539 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The Hays-Heighe House is wheelchair accessible. Guests who require other arrangements should contact Disability Support Services at least two weeks prior to visiting, 443-412-2402 or email@example.com.
Feb. 5 | Langston Hughes Youth Oratorical Contest
The 6th annual Langston Hughes Youth Oratorical Contest will be Sunday from 1-3 p.m. at the Cultural Center at the Opera House, 121 N. Union Ave. in Havre de Grace.
This event celebrates the Havre de Grace Colored School Museum and Cultural Center’s historic connections to tAfrican American writer Langston Hughes, and honors the legacy of those who advocated for equitable access to education for African American students in Harford County.
This year’s theme is: “Let life be like music.” Cash scholarships will be awarded to the first-, second- and third-place winners in the middle school and high school categories, and additional prizes will be awarded to the runners-up.
A reception will follow at the Havre de Grace Colored School Museum and Cultural Center, 555 Alliance Street.
Admission is free but reserved seating is required: hdgoperahouse.org/event/the-langston-hughes-youth-oratorical-contest/
Begins Feb. 6 | Indoor StoryWalk at Aberdeen Library
The Aberdeen Friends of Harford County Public Library group is supporting a family friendly Indoor StoryWalk featuring the book “Trombone Shorty,” an autobiography by Grammy-nominated musician Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews. The book is a Caldecott Honor Book and American Library Association Coretta Scott King Book Award winner.
The StoryWalk will be open 10 a.m.-8 p.m. through Feb. 17 at the library, 21 Franklin Street, and is free.
Feb. 7 | Newsreels & Discussion: Then and Now
View several short vintage film reels from the civils rights era and discuss how they present the movement and its issues with Julie Mancine, coordinator of the Hays-Heighe House and Harford Community County archivist.
The session will be Tuesday, 12:30-2:30 p.m. in Room 201 of the Hays-Heighe House at Harford Community College. Seating is limited and reservations are required: HaysHeighe@harford.edu or 443-412-2539.
Feb. 9 | Civil Rights Leadership Awards
The Harford Civil Rights Project will host its first Civil Rights Leadership Awards on Feb. 9, 6-7:30 p.m. in the Chesapeake Dining Room at Harford Community College.
Admission is free and includes a reception. Reservations required by Friday: https://forms.office.com/r/x6EiJLZimX.
Feb. 10 | Havre de Grace Arts Collective presentation on the Harford Civil Rights Project
The Havre de Grace Arts Collective is hosting a lecture and slideshow on the Harford Civil Rights Project, presented by Prof. James Karmel of Harford Community College, who is director of the project.
The Harford Civil Rights Project traces the 20th-century civil rights movement in Harford County, with a free app that provides mobile access to the historical archives. Karmel will share stories and images about key places, people and events that shaped Harford County’s history.
The presentation will be Feb. 10, 7 p.m., at the Cultural Center at the Opera House, 121 N. Union Ave. Havre de Grace. Admission is $10. Tickets: eventbrite.com/e/prof-james-r-karmel-lecture-the-harford-civil-rights-project-tickets-495307436877
Feb. 11 | Omega Psi Phi book dedication
The Iota Nu chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., will hold its annual book dedication on Feb. 11 from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at the Havre de Grace Library, 120 N. Union Avenue.
Dante R. Brizill, author of “Red Ball Express: Greatness Under Fire,” will be guest speaker. Copies of his book will be dedicated to Harford County Public Library by members of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity in honor of Black History Month, along with copies of “They Call Me Big House” by author Clarence E. Gaines.
The event is free.
Feb. 14 | Historical Society virtual program on the history of the Havre de Grace Colored School
The Historical Society of Harford County will present a virtual program sharing the history of the Havre de Grace Colored School, Harford County’s first public high school for African American students, on Feb. 14 at 12:30 p.m. Patricia Cole, president of the Havre de Grace Colored School Museum and Cultural Center, will be the speaker.
The program is free, registration is required: harfordhistory.org/event/history-of-havre-de-grace-colored-high-school/
Begins Feb. 16 | Tea Time
Enjoy tea and a light luncheon with a civil rights-themed presentation at Hays-Heighe House, built in 1808 and named to the National Register of Historic Places.
Dates: Feb. 16, March 16, April 20, May 9. Tea time is 12:30-1:30 p.m. Tickets: $20, advanced purchase is required: 443-412-2539 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feb. 21 | The Trifecta: Tips for Researching the Formerly Enslaved
Take a deep dive through case studies to learn how Civil War records, the Freedmen’s Bureau and Probates/Successions come together to reveal the pre-emancipation, post emancipation and 20th-century lives of the formerly enslaved and their families in this virtual genealogy workshop with the Harford County Public Library.
The session will be from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Registration required: hcplonline.org.
Feb. 23 | Aberdeen Library discusses the history of segregated schools in Harford County
The Aberdeen Library will hold a presentation and discussion of the Havre de Grace Colored School and Consolidated Schools of Harford County on Feb. 23 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Hear how African American students’ perseverance, tenacity and resilience enabled them to navigate through inequities inherent in segregated schools and succeed against the odds.
The event will bein the Meeting Room at the library and is free. The library is at 21 Franklin Street.
Feb. 26 | Hiplet Ballerinas perform at the Amoss Center
The Morning Sun
The Hiplet™ Ballerinas, a performance group based out of the Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center, will perform at the Amoss Center on Feb. 26 at 3 p.m.
Hiplet fuses classical pointe technique with African, Latin, Hip-Hop and urban dance styles that are rooted in communities of color. It was specifically designed to make ballet accessible to all by mixing it with current popular music that will be familiar to audiences who don’t normally attend ballet performances. Performances incorporate the rhythms of African drums with Tchaikovsky, arabesques and beat-boxing or even Tango en pointe, while showcasing Hiplet’s trademark movements to popular music from Black Violin to Beyoncé and Prince.
Reserved seating tickets are $35 Premier, $30 Orchestra and $25 Terrace. To purchase tickets, harfordevents.com/. For disability-related accommodations, call 443-412-2211 two weeks in advance.
Feb. 27 | Book discussion at Bel Air Library
The Bel Air Library will discuss the adult nonfiction book, “South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation” by Imani Perry as part of its Winter Reading Challenge. The free event will be Feb. 27 from 6:30-7:45 p.m. at the library, 100 E. Pennsylvania Ave., Bel Air.
Monthlong | Harford County Public Library
Throughout February, the 11 branches of the Harford County Public Library system will have Black History Month book displays, themed Take & Make kits, and activities such as scavenger hunts, arts and crafts, and more. Information: hcplonline.org.