African American History Month starts Thursday, and the Forsyth County Public Library system has several events and exhibits planned throughout the month for county residents to attend.
According to africanamericanhistorymonth.gov, the national month-long celebration was established in 1976 by then-president President Gerald R. Ford. The site stated that Ford urged the nation to, “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
The site stated that every president since Ford has continued the tradition of proclaiming February as African American History Month.
The Tuskegee Airmen: Segregated Skies of World War II at the Post Road Library
The month will kick off with a special exhibit titled, “The Tuskegee Airmen: Segregated Skies of World War II,” that opens Thursday at the Post Road Library.
According to a news release by the Forsyth County Public Library system, the exhibit is currently on loan from the Museum of History and Holocaust Education at Kennesaw State University, and “explores the history and heroism of the first African American pilots to fly in combat during World War II.”
The release stated that the exhibit features a series of photos and stories which, “offers a look into the historical challenges and triumphs of these unsung American heroes.”
On Feb. 15, Getchel Caldwell, senior vice president of Institutional Advancement and University Relations at Clark Atlanta University will provide a talk and greater detail on the Tuskegee Airmen.
“We’re looking forward to hearing Mr. Caldwell share his experiences working with The Tuskegee Airmen National Site and Museum at Moton Field in Tuskegee, Alabama,” said Post Road Library branch Manager Ann Decherd.
The Tuskegee Airmen exhibit will be on display from Feb. 1- 27 during normal library hours.
Historical and Genealogical Programs at the Cumming Library
The Cumming Library has two events scheduled for African American History month.
At 3 p.m. Feb. 3, the library will host a workshop on African American Genealogy by professional genealogy researcher and member of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, Elyse Hill.
“Ms. Hill will share information to help patrons take the first steps in researching family histories and provide information on accessing different types of genealogical records, particularly those that are available online,” said Cumming Library branch Manager Denise Leeson.
At 3 p.m. Feb. 24, the Cumming Library will host Sheri Jackson, regional manager with the National Parks Service’s Network to Freedom Program, for a talk on the Underground Railroad.
“This program demonstrates the importance of the Underground Railroad in the eradication of slavery and also as cornerstone of the Civil Rights Movement. Ms. Jackson will share stories about people and stops, including a few here in Georgia,” Leeson said.
The event is free and open to the public, but the release noted that the genealogical program is meant for adults.
Music and Literature at the Post Road Library
In addition to the Tuskegee Airmen exhibit, the Post Road Library will host a musical performance and literary event.
At 1:45 p.m. Feb. 11 the Bright Star Touring Theatre will perform their “hit musical revue”, Freedom Songs: The Music of Black History.
“This special event is part of the library’s ongoing One World Forsyth program sponsored by the Forsyth County Public Library Friends & Advocates,” Decherd said.
The event is free and open to all ages.
At 10:15 a.m. Feb. 14, the Post Road Library Novel Diversions book club will host a discussion of “What We Lose” by Zinzi Clemmons.
“’What We Lose’ was recognized as a finalist for the NBCC John Leonard First Book Prize and Ms. Clemmons was longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, so we’re looking forward to discussing such a wonderful book with our patrons,” Decherd said.
The release stated that registration to or membership of the Novel Diversions book club is not required for the event, but adult readers are suggested.
For more information on these events, visit www.forsythpl.org.