In honor of Black History Month, the Township of Maplewood has joined with local non-profit, community and business partners to sponsor more than 40 artistic, cultural and educational events and activities throughout the month of February to celebrate and raise awareness of the contributions and achievements Black Americans have made to the fabric of our society.
Maplewood Mayor Frank McGehee, who will discuss the Isabel Wilkerson’s book “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents” notes, “As we observe our 4th Annual Black History Month Celebration in Maplewood, we honor the legacy of Black Americans — past, present and future, and simultaneously bring to the forefront the injustice and inequities of social stratification and systemic racism that exist in America to this day but as National Youth Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman reminded us recently in her powerful inaugural poem "The Hill We Climb," - "There is always light if only we are brave enough to see it, if only we are brave enough to be it.""
A list of the Black History Month events, primarily virtual this year, are listed below. So that everyone may enjoy and participate in the events for 2021 with physical distancing and covid-19 guidelines established, the majority of events will take place via Zoom links and/or Maplewood Township YouTube Channel; other events include outdoor displays and installations, or by-appointment indoor exhibits. Detailed descriptions and links can be found at www.maplewoodbhm.com. Township weekly emails and social media campaigns will detail upcoming events.
“This year we are using innovation, creativity and technology to offer a well-rounded and extensive celebration of Black History. Although most of the 2021 activities will be virtual, it is still going to be a very special month and our fourth consecutive year of celebrating Black History. We thank the many local organizations for their participation,” said Township Committeeman Vic De Luca, who is coordinating events along with Ana De Archuleta, Director of the Division of Arts & Culture. Among the groups sponsoring events are the Maplewood Department of Community Services, Maplewood Division of Arts & Culture, Maplewood Arts Council, SOMA—Arts Registry, Maplewood Memorial Library, Maplewood Hilton Branch Library, Maplewood Community Board On Police, Maplewood Village Alliance, Maplewood Chamber of Commerce, Springfield Avenue Partnership, 1978 Arts Center, Durand-Hedden House, South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race, SOMA TV, SOMA Justice, SOMA Action, Hilton Neighborhood Association, Borden Park Neighborhood Association, South Mountain YMCA, Columbia High School, Northern NJ Youth Orchestras (NNJYO), The Strollers, Progressive Theater, A-Diamond Entertainment, Express Yourself Studios, Astah Fine Art Gallery, [words] Bookstore, Chef Jesse Jones, Good Crowd Events, General Store Cooperative and Best in Class Education Center.
2021 Black History Month Schedule Of Events, Displays and ProgramsAll Events are Free and Virtual, Unless Otherwise Specified
1/28 at 7:00pm Maplewood LibraryPainters on Painters: BasquiatDiscussion with Onnie Strother on Jean-Michel Basquiat
2/1 – 2/4 Maplewood Hilton Branch Library Take & Make Art Project - Garett Morgan’s Traffic Light 2/2 at 7:30pm Maplewood Township CommitteeBlack History Month Proclamation - Free Virtual Event 2/4 at 7:30pm SOMA Action Racial Justice Committee, CCR and SOMA Justice“Bloody Sunday”: Memories of a Civil Rights ProdigyA Presentation and Conversation with Civil Rights Activist Joanne Bland 2/5 at 2:30pm Columbia High SchoolTalent Show, CHS Students Only/Not Open to Public2/5 at 7:30pm Maplewood Division of Arts & Culture and A-Diamond Entertainment“The Breakdown” Play and Discussion 2/6 at 5:00pm Maplewood Department of Community Services and Division of Arts & CultureArtists and Curators Group Virtual Exhibit and Conversation 2/7 at 2:00pm - SOMA JusticeTrayvon Martin Birthday PartyKid-Centered Event Honoring Trayvon’s Life2/8 – 2/12 Maplewood Main LibraryTake & Make Art Project - Benjamin T. Montgomery’s Boat Propeller
2/8 at 4pm Columbia High SchoolBlack History Month Film Viewing, CHS Students Only/Not Open to Public
2/9 at 4:00pm Maplewood Library and Express Yourself Studios Exploring Faith Ringgold – Craft for ages 6-10 2/12 at 12:00pm Chef Jesse Jones – author of “Pow! My Life in 40 Feasts”Keeping African Cuisine thru Traditions and a Modern Approach
2/13 at 7:30pm A-Diamond Entertainment and Maplewood Arts & Culture “Is This What We Paid For” – Virtual Play and Discussion
2/14 at 3:00 -7:00pm Borden Park Neighborhood AssociationToni Morrison's 1993 Nobel Prize Lecture – Audio Visual Installation
2/15 at 4pm Columbia High School Protecting Our Blackness in White Spaces, CHS Students Only/Not Open to Public
2/15 at 5pm Columbia High SchoolAm I Black Enough, CHS Students Only/Not Open to Public
2/15 at 7:30pm [words] Bookstore“This is Major: Notes on Diana Ross, Dark Girls & Being Dope" Virtual Book Talk with Author Shayla Lawson
2/16 at 4:00pm SOMA Action Racial Justice CommitteeAfrican Art – Tour of the Africana Institute at Essex County College
2/17 at 7:30 SOMA Justice, Maplewood Township and Maplewood Community Board On PoliceKnow your Rights Training Learn about Your Rights Under the U.S. Constitution and Civil Rights Laws
2/18 at 7:30pm Hilton Neighborhood AssociationCommunity Members Celebrate Together on Zoom
2/19 On Demand - Maplewood LibraryFamily Storytime: Moments in Black History Miss Amalia Reads 4 stories for Kids of All Ages
2/20 at 10:00am SOMA Justice and Community Coalition on RaceBlack Activists and Leaders Challenging Authority in Children’s Literature: A Virtual Story Time and Play Date
2/20 at 7:30pm and 2/21 at 2:00pm The Strollers“My America: Scenes Celebrating African American Past, Present, and Future”Theatrical Performance and Discussion
2/22 at 4pm Columbia High SchoolBlack History Month Trivia, CHS Students Only/Not Open to Public
2/22 at 7:00pm [words] Bookstore“Liam's First Cut” Virtual Book Talk with Author Taye Jones
2/23 at 4:00pm Maplewood Library and Express Yourself StudiosExploring Mark Bradford - Craft for Ages 6-10
2/23 at 7:00pm SOMA Justice and Maplewood LibraryAn Evening of Black LGBTQ+ ReadingsA Black History Month Celebration of Black LGBTQ+ Authors Shared in Community
2/23 Columbia High School & NNJYOJubilee! A Celebration of Black Composers – Concert
2/24 Maplewood Chamber of Commerce Spotlight on Black Businesses – Discussion
2/25 at 6:30pm Mayor Frank McGehee Isabel Wilkerson’s “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents” – Book Discussion
2/27 at 7:30pm Maplewood Division of Arts & Culture “This Little Light of Mine: The Stories of Marian Anderson and Leontyne Price" Emmy® Award Winning Soprano Adrienne Danrich One-Woman Musical and Discussion
2/27 at 2pm Astah Fine Art GalleryInterview of Renowned Artist Patricia Coleman-Cobb
2/28 at 7:30pm Maplewood Department of Community Services and Division of Arts & CultureAutumn Jones Virtual Concert from The Woodland
Month Long Activities in Maplewood
Amina Swarns (born 2008) is 12 years old. She is in the 7th grade at the Kent Place School. She is a social justice warrior, an avid reader and an aspiring author.BLM Poetry Project VideosLocal BLM Poetry Project poets perform their poems on videoSponsored by: Maplewood Arts Council, SOMA TV and Maplewood Division of Arts and CultureThe Maplewood Black Lives Matter Poetry project displays 38 poems by Black authors throughout Maplewood. These poets range from the internationally known to the local; they span a wide breadth of experience, age, and sensibility. Many are living, while others speak to us from other eras. All of the pieces invite readers to engage with the power of language, and explore their relationship to the people and places in our community.
Friday, February 5, 2021 • 7:30pm • Discussion 8:20pm - Free Event
VIRTUAL EVENTYoutube Premier 7:30pmREGISTRATION For Discussion 8:20pmSponsored by: A-Dimond Entertainment, Imagine Motion Productions, and Maplewood Division of Arts & Culture"The BreakDown" is a (1) act stage play that tackles the issues of substance abuse, bullying, and violence as it pertains to today's youth. The premise of the play focuses on how the breakdown in the home is a direct catalyst for youth to become susceptible to any/all of the above issues
Know Your Rights Training from SOMA Justice:
Friday February 26, 2021 7:30 pm - Free Event
THIS LITTLE LIGHT OF MINE: A Stories of Marian Anderson and Leontyne Price
VIRTUAL EVENT Premier YouTube Link REGISTER for discussion This Little Light of Mine, written and performed over 80 times by EMMY® Award Winning Soprano Adrienne Danrich, is an inventive one- woman musical tribute honoring the ground-breaking careers of Marian Anderson and Leontyne Price.
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