Southwest Baltimore County libraries to mark Black History Month in February with films and stories

The Catonsville, Arbutus, Lansdowne and Woodlawn libraries plan to mark Black History Month in February with children’s programming and a film series.

“We have some really great programs that emphasize the fact that African-American history is American history,” said Julie Brophy, the library system’s adult engagement coordinator.

One of the most notable programs, library spokeswoman Erica Palmisano said, is “Black History LIVE! with Culture Queen,” a children’s performance celebrating African-American history that will be performed at the Catonsville, Lansdowne and Woodlawn libraries.

“She’s so engaging,” Palmisano said of Jessica “Culture Queen” Smith, who also performed at the libraries last year. “She has that natural-born charisma that kids just love … I’ve seen kids just look at her with amazement.”

According to her website, Culture Queen “helps children discover their own regalia and connect with their culture through self-affirming songs, rich storytelling, and body-positive dance.”

Younger children can also celebrate the month with a Preschool Storytime, featuring books with a focus on black authors and illustrators, said Marissa Conner, who manages the library system’s youth programming.

For adults, the Arbutus library will hold a film series that includes “I Am A Man: Black Masculinity in America” and “I Am Not Your Negro,” an Oscar-nominated documentary about author James Baldwin, also shown at the Woodlawn library.

After each film, Brophy said, the library plans to hold discussion panels, so people can “have a meaningful conversation about what you saw and what it meant to you.”

Representatives of the Baltimore County Human Relations Commission are expected to attend to lead the discussion, Brophy said.

Bringing educational programs to libraries is important because it helps give visitors a “museum experience,” Conner said.

“Not everybody has the ability to pay for a theater or a museum,” Conner said. “We make it accessible for everyone. We think it’s an important time of the year to celebrate.”

If you go:

Black History LIVE! with Culture Queen

All ages – children under 8 with adult

Catonsville Branch: Sat., Feb. 3, 2 p.m.

Lansdowne Branch: Mon., Feb. 12, 7 p.m.

Woodlawn Branch: Sat., Feb. 24, 2 p.m.

Celebrate Black History Month: Preschool Story Time

2 to 5 years old with adult

Woodlawn Branch: Wed., Feb. 7, 10:30 a.m.

African American Film Series

Arbutus Branch

Adults, 6:30 p.m.

Mon., Feb. 12: “James Baldwin: The Price of a Ticket”

Tue., Feb. 13: — “I Am Not Your Negro”

Tue., Feb. 20 — “I Am a Man: Black Masculinity in America”

Woodlawn Branch

13 years old and older, 6 p.m.

Mon., Feb. 12 — “I Am Not Your Negro”

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