2013-02-06 / Features

Experience Black History At Queens Library

Queens Library has been gearing up for Black History month with a host of exciting free programs and celebrations. But the library also offers several powerful resources on Black history that the public can access any time of year.

Queens Library’s Langston Hughes Community Library and Cultural Center is home to the Black Heritage Reference Center of Queens County. It houses New York City’s largest circulating Black Heritage reading collection, serving Queens and beyond with approximately 40,000 volumes of material about and related to Black culture.

Queens Library also operates these collections related to Black history:

•Augusta Baker Reference Collection: Augusta Braxton Baker (1911-1998), a one-time resident of Queens, was an African-American librarian, author, and storyteller, renowned for her contributions to children’s literature and children’s librarianship.

•Carter G. Woodson Reference Collection: Dr. Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950) was an educator and philosopher, mentor to African- American scholars, founder of the African- American Historical Association and father of Black History Month. The Central Library this month has mounted an exciting exhibit highlighting this collection.

•Louis Armstrong Archive: Queens Library at East Elmhurst is home to a “mini archive” of Armstrong memorabilia, including items bought from the gift shop, such as his Beans & Rice recipe, and T-shirts; personal items such as monogrammed book bags, postage stamps, media and books.

•At any Queens Library location, you can also access the rich print and online resources, including The African American Experience, an online collection of authoritative reference works, primary sources, images, and audio clips about African American life.

Queens Library Special Events

For opportunities to learn about or experience Black culture, attend the special events this month. All Queens Library events are free:

•Open Mic Night

Performers are invited to share their talents in five-minute presentations of poetry, prose, music, comedy, or spoken word. This is Queens Library’s first February Poetry Festival, celebrating Valentine’s Day, Lunar New Year, and Black History Month. (March 7 will feature surrealist poet Jay Chollick, voted Best Poet at The Vault. April 4 observes National Poetry Month with Ed Stever, author of two published books of poetry and Poet Laureate of Suffolk County 2011-2013). Open Mic Night will be held at Flushing Library, 41-17 Main Street, Thursday, February 7 at 6:30 p.m.

•The 28th Annual Langston Hughes Celebration

An all-day, free celebration of the famed Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes, namesake of the Langston Hughes Library, to be held Saturday, February 9.

11 a.m. - Screening of the film, Hughes’ Dream Harlem.

12 p.m. - Lecture by Jamal Joseph: “A Life of Rebellion and Revolution” and the dedication of the Langston Hughes Library as a Literary Landmark.

1 p.m. - MoMA Presents: Jacob Lawrence and the Migration Series, depicting the struggles and achievements of African Americans in their massive northern migration from the South during the first half of the 20th century.

2:30 p.m. – African-American Heritage Month scholarships, presented by Queens Borough President Helen M. Marshall.

3:30 p.m. – Lecture by Rashidah Ismali Abu Bakr: “The Harlem Renaissance”.

4:30 p.m. – Music from the Mind of the Trumpet: Live jazz by Eddie Allen and Friends.

The Langston Hughes Library is located at 100-01 Northern Blvd., Corona.

•Celebrate Black History Month with Author and Illustrator Javaka Steptoe

Javaka Steptoe, celebrated children’s book author and illustrator, will share his work and inspire children of all ages. Space is limited; tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 1 p.m. on the day of the program, at the Children’s Library Discovery Center, Central Library, 89-11 Merrick Boulevard, Saturday, February 9, at 2 p.m.

•Langston Hughes in Harlem

Celebrate the Harlem Renaissance with writer Langston Hughes in this one-person dramatic rendition of his poetry and stories, featuring David Mills, at Flushing Library, 41-17 Main Street, on Wednesday, February 13, 2 p.m.

•African-American History “Guess Who”

Test your knowledge of famous African Americans with the “Guess Who” game, at the McGoldrick Library, 155-06 Roosevelt Avenue, Wednesday, February 19, at 5 p.m.

•Black History through Poetry and Quilting

A read-along of the book I Lay Down My Stitches by Cynthia Grady, illustrated by Michele Wood, about events in history, with quilting images and participation in a quilting activity; at the Hollis Library, 202-05 Hillside Avenue, Thursday, February 21, 4:30 p.m.

•African-American and Jewish Poetry: From Images of Despair to Images of Hope

Join us for an evening of poetry with actress and author Sherry Reiter and spoken-word artist and performer Barbara Bethea. The strong parallels in the poetry of African Americans and Jewish Americans will be explored and discussed at the Langston Hughes Library, 100-10 Northern Boulevard, on Tuesday, February 26, at 5:30 p.m.

•Black History Activity

School age children are invited to join a Black History Month activity at the Richmond Hill Library, 118-14 Hillside Avenue, on Thursday, February 28, at 4 p.m.

•The 28th Annual Langston Hughes
Celebration
An all-day, free celebration of the famed
Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes,
namesake of the Langston Hughes Library,
to be held Saturday, February 9.
11 a.m. - Screening of the film, Hughes’
Dream Harlem.
12 p.m. - Lecture by Jamal Joseph: “A
Life of Rebellion and Revolution” and the
dedication of the Langston Hughes Library
as a Literary Landmark.

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