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Friday, February 20, 2015

The Friends of Black History's 16th Annual Celebration of Black History 2/21/2015 at 10am

Tomorrow the Upper Merion Township Library and the Friends of Black History are holding their 16th Annual Celebration of Black History from 10 AM until 3 PM. The theme this year is Reaching Back, Moving Forward. I will be in attendance for a little bit. I had the opportunity to attend in 2010; for the 11th Annual Black History Celebration. Let me share with you my experiences from 2010.

11th Annual Black History Month at Upper Merion Township Library
February 13, 2010

At 10 A.M. I arrived at the Upper Merion Township Building for the 2010 Black History Month sponsored by the Upper Merion Township Library. The theme was From Woolworth's to the White House. Before the celebration began, I had the opportunity to walk around the little displays. I
enjoyed looking at the art works and other historical pieces they had displayed. It was interesting to look at the history of the Civil Rights movement, especially to see so many personal narratives of the residents of Upper Merion, which as a history major I don't see very often in textbooks. Then, I saw a table with an author selling her books. Her name is Dr. Niama Williams, or Dr. Ni as she likes to be called. We were talking and she gave me great advice on becoming a writer and getting published. She then posed for a picture with me.

Finally, at 11 A.M. the program started. The Township was running late because of the snow we had received on February 6, 10, 11, and the freezing from the 12. They first commemorated Mrs. Mary Washington for honorary member of the Friends of Black History club. I personally know her and she truly deserved the honor. The first reader was for the children and he was a grio that told traditional African stories in the form of a puppet show. The grio had different animals puppets - a spider that was supposed to tell the traditional folk stories, but gave excuses to why he couldn't tell the stories. For example, some of the excuses were like taking a bath, doing homework, eating dinner, etc. The grio and his dragon puppet came out next to tell the stories, riddles, and songs like Pole (Pole is a song by Nina Jenkins, which is also a call and response song. Call and Response songs are very important in African songs.), which were fun and cute. He had everyone in the audience stand up when it came to interactive parts (like helping him sing and dance), which was a great way to teach children the culture. Of course, the children were having so much fun that they didn't even realize they were learning!

After a half-an-hour lunch break that was catered by Mrs. Davenport's Church and a Jamaican group - the food was delicious, by the way - a professor from Temple University spoke to the adult audience about how far African Americans have come in the past 40 years from 1956 to the turbulent 60s with the boycotts at Woolworth's, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and all the way up to the
election of President Barrack Obama. Her personal stories were amazing; she talked about her college days when she came from a poor Southern town to the University of Pennsylvania, and only saw her parents on holidays and during the summer. Her dad wanted her to succeed and show "the whiteys how smart we can be." She talked about how much pressure was put on her and made her more appreciative of what we are lucky to have today.

Overall, it was a fun day and the Upper Merion Township Library, as always, put on a great show. It offered great ethnic food, had wonderful stories and storytelling for all age groups. No one was bored or disappointed!

I'm looking forward to attending Reaching Back, Moving Forward at the Upper Merion Township Building on Saturday, February 21st at 10 AM. There will be DIY crafts, live music by Veronica & VEP Band, historical interpretations by Daisy Century and samples of soul food. I hope to see you there, as does the Upper Merion Township Library and the Friends of Black History! You won't regret it!


  1. This sounds like a wonderful event. I wish I lived in that area so that I could attend!

    1. It was amazing in 2010 and I'm looking forward to tomorrow's! My boss cooked for the one in 2010, I think this year it's being catered. I love soul food and I love making it. :)

  2. See you there! Wait, that's about a 10 hour drive, and the weather is iffy.
    But have fun.

    1. Yeah, we're supposed to get 6 inches tomorrow. Who knows how true it is! Seems like the weather people have been wrong so far this year.

      I'll be sure to get plenty of pictures. :)